By Joe Nelson
MORGANTOWN — Monongalia County’s public schools are going through a change in leadership after more than a dozen years with the same man at the helm.
Frank Devono, the former Monongalia County Superintendent of Schools, served his official last day June 30, capping a 45-year career — 13 of them as superintendent of Monongalia County Schools.
Now that retirement is here, Devono has a clearer vision of his future.
“I’d like to work with maybe a college or two to kind of help out with some leadership programs and maybe teach a class here or there,” he said on WAJR’s Morgantown AM. “I’d like to be able to do something with the State Superintendents Association and try to develop some new leaders as we continue to evolve with our principals and our superintendents.”
Devono is leaving behind a school system that consistently ranks among the best in the state in numerous categories.
With the aid of a school levy bond vote in 2003, Devono helped implement many positive building blocks within the school system.
He praised technological advances, like the use of take-home Chromebook laptops, in the schools. He also cited favorable rankings for Monongalia County’s high schools in the latest U.S. News and World Report.
He said he’s leaving a lot of good things behind with retirement.
“You miss a lot of things,” he said. “It’s tough to kind of point out one thing, but without a doubt it’s the people and students you help provide opportunities for.”
When first taking the job as Monongalia County Schools superintendent, Devono expected to walk into a school system in need of repairs. He then realized there would be even greater challenges, courtesy of a $5 million deficit. This came along with a seemingly directionless administrative branch that included various school principals looking for guidance. It was during this time that he’s most grateful for the people who worked with him.
“We just kind of started off one step at a time,” he said. “We had a board who believed in us and principals who embraced what we’re trying to do, so it really has made a difference it really has.”
Former Tucker County superintendent Eddie Campbell now sits where Devono did. Campbell has teaching experience all around the world, having taught students in Virginia, Alaska, West Virginia and China.
Devono left him with these parting words.
“The advice I can give is take advantage of whatever opportunities might be there and really pursue the passions that you have.”