Tyler Residents Eye Board Seats
Several local residents are aiming for three available seats on the Tyler County Board of Education. Residents, and districts, are as follows: Alex Northcraft, West; Tarina Dawn Morris, North; Ralph Thomas, South; Roger Kimble, North; Larry Thomas, Central; James E. Mason, South; Katrina Byers, West; Julia Bolin, South; and Dave Roberts, Central. Maximum eligible to be elected from districts: Central District, 2; North District, 2; South District, 1; and West District, 1.
The Tyler Star News mailed each candidate a simple questionnaire with a request for brief answers and an accompanying short bio.
Julie Bolin is a graduate of West Virginia University and has also achieved the designation of Certified Culinarian from the American Culinary Federation.
Bolin and her husband Alan have five children; the three youngest, Caitlin, Nathan and Rebecca, are proud alumni of the TCHS Silver Knights. The Bolins also own and operate Sycamore Creek Farm, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to their customers and the community.
Over the past twelve years, Bolin has had the pleasure of working within Tyler County Schools as an employee of West Virginia University Extension Service.
Bolin values her volunteer work within the Tyler County community and currently serves as the president of MAPLES (the friends of Tyler County Public Library), serves as a board member for the Tyler County Family Resource Network and she participates in the Tyler County Schools Wellness Committee. She is the Corresponding Secretary for P.E.O. Chapter U and is the past-president of the Tyler County Master Gardeners.
Katrina Byers, Director of the Family Resource Network is seeking a seat on the Tyler County Board of Education.
Byers is married to her husband, Rodney; the two have one child, Christopher. Rodney and Christopher work at Momentive.
A graduate of Paden City High School and West Liberty University, along with her husband, Byers has made children’s education the focus of her adult life.
As a 30-year resident of Tyler County, Byers was born and raised in Paden City, resides in Sistersville at present, and works in Middlebourne. She believes this gives her a better familiarity with the Tyler County communities and would be helpful if elected.
Roger Kimble, candidate for board of education, is a former teacher and current substitute. He worked with the Tyler Consolidated band for 10 years. Kimble was born and raised in Tyler County and all his children attended Tyler County schools.
James Mason was born and raised in Tyler County and has lived here the majority of his adult life. James and wife Tara and are proud parents of two students in Tyler County schools – Madison Glover, a junior at Tyler Consolidated, and Heath Mason, a first grader at Author I Boreman. Mason is running for Board of Education because “I believe I can work well with the other board members, administration, as well as employees to keep Tyler County schools at the top of West Virginia school districts.”
Tarina Morris is a lifelong resident of Tyler County. She graduated from Tyler Consolidated High School in 1997 and attended college at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Currently, Morris holds the position as secretary for the First Church of God, New Martinsville. She has served on the board of the Sistersville Junior Athletics. She is the president and founder of the Tyler County Youth Soccer Club. Morris and her husband are raising four children, ages 16, 14, 12 and 6 months.
Dave Roberts is a lifelong resident of Tyler County, Roberts is a graduate of Tyler County High School and a U.S. Air Force veteran. Upon discharge he attended WVNCC.
He has been married to Leona “Cookie” Roberts for 43 years. They live in Middlebourne and have two grown children, Nicholas and Sarah, both graduates of Tyler Consolidated High School. They have one granddaughter.
Roberts retired from PPG/Axial with 37 years of service. He also served on the Natrium Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Council of Senior Tyler Countians, Inc. In 2016, Roberts was named Tyler County Senior Citizen of the Year.
He is a member of the Middlebourne United Methodist Church, where he has served as chairman of the Trustees.
Roberts is active with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) Volunteers for Life program. He served as president of the Middlebourne Youth League, where he also volunteered as a coach. He served as treasurer of the Tyler Consolidated Athletic Boosters and was a member of the Middlebourne Lions Club. He currently belongs to American Legion Post 48 and Moose Lodge 971.
Larry Thomas is a life-long resident of Tyler County. He is the son of Jack and Nila Thomas. He has been married to Sandy Ash Thomas for 38 years. Together they have three sons who attended Tyler County Schools. They currently have 8 grandchildren, two of which are currently attending Tyler County Schools. Larry previously served on the Tyler County Board of Education for 16 years, from 1997 – 2013, and is currently serving on the Board of Council of Seniors Tyler Countians (Tyler County Senior Center).
Ralph Thomas and his wife, Jane, reside in the Dale Community (Indian Creek).
Thomas worked at a coal-fired power plant near Marietta, Ohio (AMP Ohio) for 20 years until it closed in 2010. He is currently employed by Wetzel County Schools as a school bus operator. He is the owner of Thomas Motorsport, LLC, a demolition derby promoter.
Thomas is the son of Jackie and Nila Thomas of Lima. He graduated from TCHS in 1980 and has two children who were educated in Tyler County Schools, Joe (Becky) Thomas of Buck Run and Amanda (Tim) Spencer of Alma. He has four grandchildren attending Tyler County Schools. Thomas’ daughter, Amanda, is a school bus operator for Tyler County Schools and his daughter-in-law, Becky, is a teacher at Sistersville Elementary.
Thomas’ name will appear as number three (3) in the order on the primary ballot. Ralph commented, “I have no particular interest to promote. I would take the responsibility seriously and I would appreciate the opportunity to serve you on the Tyler County Board of Education.”
What do you think is one main change people would like to seen in the school system? How do you propose this change be made, if it can be made?
* Julia Bolin: I believe that one change people would like to see is that our students develop into successful adults with the skills and independence needed for that transition. This can be accomplished by encouraging youth to be responsible stakeholders in their education process. Teachers, administrators, parents and students should strive to work together to set achievable goals. We need a paradigm shift; this needs to be a group effort with all parties working together to bring about change. Each day brings a new learning experience; this wonder of knowledge should be encouraged as often as possible.
* Katrina Byers: First and foremost, I think it should be said that Tyler County is very fortunate to have a fantastic school system and during my campaigning I’ve had no one complain about the state of the schools.
But if I were to suggest an area to improve it would be more positive community and parental participation. Having experience as a parent, a former employee of the school system, and as community member who volunteers and administers programs within the schools, I have a unique perspective on this issue. At the elementary school level, we have enjoyed great success with our parent volunteers but when the students transition to the middle school level, the participation tends to drop off.
It should be a gradual transition because in the beginning it will mean an additional burden on the teachers but the results would pay for themselves in the long run. It would require a collaborative effort between the parents, teachers, principals and Local School Improvement Councils to find productive ways to incorporate parents and community members as volunteers and mentors.
Just a few ideas we could do is institute a “Parent Move Up Day” like we do for the elementary school students when they transition to the middle school complex. We could offer sign-up sheets for areas in which we need volunteers, offer information on programs or events and activities scheduled throughout the year, and possibly recruit parents or community members to participate in a middle school Career Day or as mentors for students interested in specific occupations. Once people find out they can really be helpful and they volunteer, they become more invested in the students’ and schools’ success.
Other means of keeping the community and parents informed and involved are to utilize the Tyler Star News website, the Tyler Consolidated Radio Station, the schools’ websites, and the Tyler County Schools Facebook page. We need to utilize technology to bridge the gap.
* Roger Kimble: I’m not sure we need any big changes at this time, because, as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, there has been a great amount of turnover in the teaching staff recently, and I would ask these new teachers to look at the past and make sure we keep the standards high in our schools. Tyler County Schools have tested well and prepared students for the future in an exemplary manner for many years and I would hope we could continue to do this with our new teaching staff by insisting on good teaching methods, good curriculum, and good discipline.
* James Mason: I believe people of Tyler County would like to become more involved with the school system and extracurricular activities I will support the ideas brought forth from the employees and the citizens of Tyler County.
* Tarina Morris: I think an important change that needs to be made is the school and the communities need to work together for more involvement. It was great that the basketball team drove through both Middlebourne and Sistersville on their way to the state tournament. Students need more memories like this. Whether it be pep rallies or bonfires in the community before sporting events, to parades for winning seasons, or before events like the state tournaments. This can be done for more than just the sports teams as well. These events used to happen at the two schools that consolidated and it’s time we start them again. I think this would help build a sense of pride for our students as well as members of our community. My hope is this would generate more involvement of our students for extracurricular activities.
* Dave Roberts: I have spoken with residents county-wide and found there are several concerns about our school system. The topic that was most abundant was school safety with concerns about school resource officers being placed in each school and bullying. Young parents to grandparents and all in between feel our schools are currently unprotected. I would try to the best of my ability to seek funding to place School Resource Officers at all of the schools to protect our students all day everyday while school is in session. After speaking with parents about bullying, they feel bullying issues are not taken seriously. It is my belief that all complaints should be looked at swiftly and dealt with sternly if the need arises. I would work to see what measures could be taken to rectify any problems on the issue of bullying. We must protect our children, they are our future.
* Larry Thomas: A safe and healthy school environment is foremost on many of our minds. We need to address the affect bullying has on our students. By creating an environment where students, parents and staff feel safe and are encouraged to speak up about issues, such as bullying. It is time to place a School Resource Officer in each of our schools. School Resource Officers become a visible presence creating good public relations by attending school functions and working with school administrators resulting in trust.
* Ralph Thomas: One main change I think people would like to see in the school system is school climate, specifically related to relationships among administrators, personnel, parents, students, and the community.
Positive and respectful attitudes and relationships; treating individuals fairly and equally; making parents and community members feel welcomed and encouraged to participate and be involved can create a climate that adds quality and character to school life. A positive school climate promotes positive development and academic performance. This type of climate also helps with motivation, attendance, and discipline, and prepares students for life after school.
This change can start with a commitment to building strong relationships by being approachable, unbiased, and open to input from one another.
Why do you want to on the board of education and what makes you qualified to serve in that capacity?
* Julia Bolin: I want to serve on the Tyler County Board of Education because I truly want to grow our community’s future. I value education and treat each day as the opportunity to learn something new. I want to encourage our students, parents, teachers and staff with a positive school environment that excels in all measurable and unmeasurable ways.
I believe that I am qualified to be on the board for several reasons. First, I currently serve on many different boards: President of M.A.P.L.E.S. (Fundraising group for the Tyler County Public Library), Corresponding Secretary for P.E.O. Chapter U, Tyler County Schools Wellness Committee member, West Virginia University Staff Council member, Co-Secretary/Treasurer for the Tyler County Family Resource Network. Second, I am a graduate of WVU with a minor in Communication Studies. I am also a small business owner (Sycamore Creek Farm, Middlebourne WV) and am employed by West Virginia University Extension Service as a Nutrition Outreach Instructor. This current position allows me to have a good working relationship with students, teachers and administrators of Tyler County Public Schools and gives me a unique opportunity to observe and reflect.
* Katrina Byers: I want our schools to thrive and be the best they can be and I think I’m qualified to help in that respect because of my current participation in the schools and my interest as a member of this community. I have the unique perspective of having been a parent of a student, as a former employee and now a community member and volunteer, and I see issues from different sides-that of the teachers, the students, the parents, the administrators and the community because I have been in those positions. I know the staff of the schools; I have worked in the schools and I know what it’s like, having been an employee at some point.
I’m honest and fair and while I have my own opinions I can see different sides of the issues because of the various facets of the educational system that I have been acquainted with during my personal and professional life. As someone who has attended the Board of Education meetings before and since I announced my candidacy, I think I’m very familiar and well-versed with the issues facing our students, our teachers and our administrators.
I’ve served on the Local School Improvement Councils in Tyler County Schools for the past five years and I work with student groups such as Students Against Destructive Decisions and Super Teens Achieving Regional Success. I’m on the boards of the Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center and the Sistersville General Hospital Foundation, and I currently serve as the Director of the Family Resource Network. As the FRN Director, I have organized the Back to School Fair, programs for substance abuse prevention, and literacy programs. Byers is also trained as a court-appointed special advocate for abuse and neglect cases.
As a candidate without an agenda other than advocating for our students, our teachers and our school system, I would appreciate your vote on May 8.
* Roger Kimble: I have been working with school students for most of my life. I was a teacher for 6 years, prior to changing my career, but then I returned by working with Mr. Smith and serving the Tyler band as the percussion instructor and music arranger for 10 years. I have been substitute teaching for the last 7 years and I have been refereeing basketball for the last 19 years. Throughout this time, I have become acquainted with teachers, coaches, principals, and board members during my work. I have a good knowledge of what goes on in the classroom and on the field of competition. I feel I’m in a really good position to see the needs of students and the needs and the duties of the teachers. Hopefully I can use this knowledge to help the school system excel for the benefit of our children.
* James Mason: I would like to be on the Board of Education because the Administration, Teachers, and service personnel need the support of Tyler County. I will enter the board of education without an agenda and make an educated decision on each issue brought before the board.
* Tarina Morris: I feel serving on the board of education would be a great way to serve and give back to the community that raised me. Knowing that we have highly qualified teachers, staff and students who are eager to learn, there is always room for improvements. Having children in our school system I have a fresh knowledge of concerns for our schools. This knowledge as well as my work within the community make me a qualified candidate for the Tyler County Board of Education.
* Dave Roberts: I am a life-long resident of Tyler County, a graduate of TCHS Class of 1971, Vietnam USAF Veteran, PPG/Axiall retiree after 37 years of service. I actively serve as the district representative for Core WV and sit on the board of directors for the Council of Senior Tyler Countians. I am a member of the Middlebourne United Methodist Church where I have held various leadership positions, member of the American Legion Post 48 and Moose Lodge 971. I have served on the Board of Directors for the Natrium Credit Union, a former Lions Club member, served as the President of the Middlebourne Youth League and Treasurer of the Tyler Consolidated Athletic Boosters.
I feel with my experience of working in, around, and with very diverse groups of people that I can and will be an asset to the Tyler County Board of Education. I have experienced leadership roles in different settings and feel that I can lead with passion or be stern when needed. I hold dearly to my faith in the making of all my decisions. I am willing and look forward to working with our current Superintendent, who has proven to be one of the best in the state, as well as those currently seated as board members and those to be newly elected.
* Larry Thomas: I hope to promote students in their academics and extracurricular activities in efforts to empower them to pursue their goals in life. I served on the Board of Education for 16 years previously. I will listen and ask questions before making decisions. I am aware and will be committed to uphold policies and laws to help Tyler County Schools continue to flourish in academic excellence.
* Ralph Thomas: I want to be on the board of education in order to be directly involved in the function of the board, to create and revise policies and to uphold those policies in a fair and equal manner and to increase communication with parents and the community.
I am qualified to serve on the board of education for the following reasons:
As an employee of a school system as a school bus operator, I am familiar with state and federal laws and I have an understanding of how a school system operates.
As a business owner and promoter, I am in direct contact with the public. I enjoy being around people and I like to talk. I have the social skills needed to communicate with parents and the public. I would be able to work as a team with other board members and I would be willing to express my opinions and new ideas. I feel that staff, teachers, and service personnel are all as one. One group is not more important than the other because, without one of them, the schools would not be able to function. I have no particular interest to promote. I am not affiliated with any particular group within Tyler County schools, and as such, I would be impartial in my opinion as a board member.