New middle school to get principal soon

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — The Warren County School Board decided at last weekís meeting to soon begin advertising the principal position at the new Warren County Middle School, and hopefully fill the position around the beginning of March.

The principal would assume the role on July 1, about a year before the school opens, to orchestrate preliminary tasks.

The principalís responsibilities would include selecting and ordering furniture, making decisions on where that furniture is to be placed, ensuring that rooms have appropriate equipment and technology, selecting and ordering library books, and hiring teachers.

For the previous three school openings in the county, the furniture ordering was conducted in-house by the School Board and an equipment company, Assistant Superintendent Melody Sheppard said. She proposed that the new principal be given that responsibility.

"Many school divisions have the practice when they open a new school that they hire the principal a year ahead because they're going to become the lead of what goes on in that building," Superintendent Greg Drescher said.

Drescher was named the first principal of Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School in 1997. When he took the reins in July of that year, he said, not a single piece of furniture had been ordered.

"I just think it's a good practice, having gone through opening up Skyline, Warren County High School," Drescher said.

Sheppard said there is $150,000 set aside in the design cost of the middle school for the purchase of furniture and equipment. The principalís salary will be in the range from about $70,500 to $110,700.

If the School Board hires a current employee of the Warren County school system, it wants to ensure there is enough time to fill the new vacancy with a quality hire.

"We want to have the availability to be on the front end of the hiring process instead of later, so weíre getting the best qualified candidates," Sheppard said.

School Board member Douglas Rosen previously expressed some concern with allowing the principal to order furniture and decide where it goes.

"My experience in construction is you've got to be careful ... because it can generate a lot of change orders, because someone can say 'put this here' ... and then your employees hit and then all of the sudden ... everything is five feet too high," Rosen said.

Rosen said he is now convinced the board is making the right decision and is sure change orders will be kept in mind.

"This would just be a good way to get the new Warren County Middle School off to a great start," Drescher said.

The new school is currently under construction and scheduled to begin classes during the 2017-18 school year.

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