Editorials, Opinion

Endorsements for Board of Education

The Dominion Post Editorial Board recently had the pleasure of interviewing candidates for Monongalia County and Preston County boards of education. We would like to thank all the candidates who took the time to meet with us and answer our questions. (Several candidates were unable to attend or did not respond to our invitations.)

Each candidate answered seven to eight questions about their thoughts on a variety of topics. Unfortunately, we do not have the space to discuss all that we covered during the interviews, but our endorsements are based on the entirety of those conversations. With that said, here are our picks for Board of Education.

Monongalia County

We endorse Dan Berry (Central), Jennifer Hagerty (Central) and Mike Kelly (Western) for the Mon County Board of Education.

Berry and Hagerty both have extensive teaching experience, and who better to preside over our schools than the people who worked in them every day for years?  Both impressed us with their ideas for teacher development and their student-focused approach.

Kelly brings institutional knowledge from 15-plus years on the board.  His belief that schools need to produce not just future workers, but critical thinkers, is exactly what we need.

While Cristy Moats did not receive our endorsement, we admire her passion. She would bring perspective from the western end of the county, but many of the issues she wishes to address are not within the power of the county school board, but the purview of the West Virginia Board of Education or the Legislature.            

Preston County

There are three districts and three seats to fill, so we’ve broken our endorsements down by district.

For District 1, we endorse Jack Keim and Steven Wise. Either of these gentlemen would be a good choice. Keim brings the institutional knowledge from his 16 years on Preston County’s Board of Education, and he is clearly dedicated to Preston’s youth. Wise is new to Preston County, but he brings 40 years of experience as a higher education administrator and a plethora of fresh ideas we think would be good for the county.

For District 2, we endorse Jeanne Dreisbach. She gained our approval in 2020, when she ran to fill an unexpired term on the board. She again impressed us with her experience as a teacher at multiple grade levels and as a principal and with her performance on the board the last two years.

For District 3, we endorse Debra Felton and Lucas Tatham. Felton brings 40 years of teaching experience and a level-headed pragmatism. Her love for Preston County’s schools and students is apparent. Tatham is a technically a newcomer to the education system, but he proved to be a very hands-on parent, and he was heavily involved in passing the last school levy in Preston County. His passion impressed us.             


There are three seats available for the five-person Board of Education in each county, but there can be no more than two representatives from each district.

In Preston County, no more than two of the current candidates can be elected from District 1 while no more than one candidate can be elected from District 2 and District 3. In Mon County, the top three vote-getters may not fill all three seats if said top-three are all from the same district. It can be one Western and two Central, or two Western and one Central. 

As the Mon County candidates said during their interview, no matter where you live, you can vote for any school board candidate.