KINGWOOD — It was a time of reminiscing, appreciation and emotion at the most recent Preston County Board of Education meeting, as three titans of the district prepare to move on.
Superintendent Stephen Wotring, board president Jack Keim and board member Jeanne Dreisbach were all honored with plaques, kind words and cookies at Monday’s meeting.
All three have long been active in Preston’s schools. Keim and Dreisbach lost their reelection bids in May and will be replaced in July. Wotring is retiring at the end of June. While there is one meeting to go, on June 27, Monday was the last time everyone who has served together over the last two years will be together.
Assistant superintendents Brad Martin and Ange Varner read a brief history of each official’s accomplishments through their time with the system before presenting each with a plaque thanking them for their service to Preston County Schools.
Dreisbach started her career as a Spanish Teacher in Monongalia County. She was then the cadet service coordinator and principal at the Mountaineer Challenge Academy until 2016. From 2016-19, she was assistant principal at West Preston. She was elected in 2019 to fill the last two years of Mac McCrum’s term.
“She has been a noble leader, don’t-talk-back-to-me principal, it’ll-all-work-out-I-promise confidant, come-sit-down-and-talk-to-me friend, I’ll-help-you-however-you-need-me-to and just-give-me-a-call coworker. Jeanne was and always will continue to be there whenever you need her,” Varner said.
Dreisbach said she couldn’t have served with a better group of people over the last two years and she was deeply appreciative.
Of Keim, Martin said, “Jack has always been involved with Preston County youth sports as the head coach of the Terra Alta Dolphins. He’s also a longtime basketball official and was the voice of the Preston Knights on the WFSP for a number of years.”
Keim said he hopes, prays and knows the new board, with the new administration, will continue to work for the best outcome possible for the students of Preston County.
“We all have love there. And it’s not just one, or not just one group. It’s all 4,000-plus students that we have. Those are our kids. Those are my kids,” Keim said, his voice breaking.
Wotring has been with Preston County Schools for 40 years, Martin said. He began as a science teacher at Bruceton School and later became its assistant principal. He also graduated from Bruceton School in 1977. He served as principal at Rowlesburg, Terra Alta/East Preston and Bruceton. In 2012, he started working in the central office in directorships over federal programs, Pre-K and curriculum, and in 2015, he became superintendent.
In 2021, Wotring was named West Virginia Superintendent of the Year, Varner continued. He is currently an executive member of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators.
Wotring is also famous for his snow day performance of The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. The 2015 snow day school cancellation went viral. Asked to sing a line, Wotring quickly said no while smiling. The crowd laughed loudly.
“Steven is an outstanding educator and leader who has helped to raise student and staff success and improvements in our district’s reputation around the state and nation at large,” Varner said.