Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 2, 2013

New Tazewell Co. school chief sworn in

TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County’s new superintendent of schools said she is hoping to experience more of the surrounding area and its people following her swearing-in ceremony Monday.

Dr. Michaelene Meyer began her term as Tazewell County’s new school superintendent following an official ceremony swearing her in at Tazewell County Circuit Court. Former Tazewell County Schools Superintendent Dr. Brenda Lawson retired effective June 30, but Meyer said she has been working with Lawson and other school officials during the past weeks.

In addition to Meyer’s friends and family, Tazewell County School Board President Mike Dennis and Southern District Member Randy Conn came to welcome Meyer to the school system during the ceremony. Representatives from local schools including Springville Elementary, Abbs Valley-Boissevain Elementary, Tazewell Middle School, Tazewell High School, North Tazewell Elementary and Raven Elementary were all present for the ceremony as well.

Meyer said she is already preparing for the coming 2013-2014 school year.

“The school year here starts on Aug. 15 while in Northern Virginia it doesn’t start until after Labor Day, which is an adjustment for me,” Meyer said. “I have been working closely with Dr. Lawson and the principals during work sessions to prepare myself. I have received a wonderful reception from everyone here in Tazewell County.”

Meyer said she hopes to carry on the county’s traditions as well as make improvements.

“Tazewell as a wonderful tradition of academic success,” Meyer said. “I am looking forward to seeing what is working well, what could be changed and what needs improvements. I have meet with many of the principals already and we have begun talking about those things. If they say something is working then I don’t want to change it, but if there is something they think can be tweaked I will work with them. We have already laid a lot of groundwork to get things started.”

As part of her new role as superintendent, Meyer said she is hoping to become better acquainted with Bluefield, Va., Tazewell, Richlands and all other area communities.

“The biggest challenge for me will be getting to know each one of the individual communities, because there are so many unique communities in this county,” she said. “I am hoping to get into each community and get a sense of each community, to find out what the need.”

Meyer said she is conscious of the budgetary restraints facing both Tazewell County and school systems throughout the area.

“Every school system has their challenges and finances and unfunded mandates are a challenge many school systems throughout the Commonwealth are facing right now,” she said. “I would like to look at this in a positive light and see what we can do with what we have. I did sit on the last budget meeting between the school board and the Board of Supervisors and was able to meet several of the supervisors. I am looking forward to meeting the rest of them.”

Additionally, Meyer said one of her first major projects as superintendent will be overseeing the new evaluation system mandated for educators in Virginia.

“One of the biggest new things we are facing in the Commonwealth is the new evaluation system for school personnel,” Meyer said. “This was the first year it was put in place for teachers. This year, it will be implemented for principals and as a pilot program for school superintendents. I am hoping to work with our principals about setting those evaluation standards and how to implement this system.”

Meyer previously served as deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Manassas City Public Schools and her contract as Superintendent of Schools for Tazewell County lasts until June 30, 2016.

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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