Monongalia County Board of Education President Ron Lytle and longtime member Nancy Walker have officially ended their over decade long runs as part of the BOE.

The two longest-tenured members of the BOE were commemorated as part of their final meeting in June, where they were recognized for their roles in helping the county school system grow over the past twenty years. For Walker, who was on the board for 28 years and served during the COVID-19 pandemic and through several major developments to help grow the county school system, it was a bittersweet moment as she prepared to say farewell to their colleagues. Lytle, who served on the board for over ten years, was unable to attend the meeting.

“It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to be able to be elected and serve on the Monongalia County Board of Education,” said Walker after her final meeting concluded on Tuesday. “Serving our taxpayers, our students, our staff, anyone who is interested in education,” she said.

Lytle, has served on the BOE since 2012, where he served as the board president in the last two years of his third four-year term. During that time, he helped oversee the county school system as they worked through the COVID-19 pandemic and was a predominant advocate for both program and facility growth within the school system. Board member Michael Kelly, who has served on the board since 2008, will remember Lytle as a caring member of the community who supported several projects, such as the development of Eastwood Elementary School, renovations at Clay Battelle High School, and the expansion of after-school programs. Characteristics that can be seen in Walker as well.

“It’s been a joy to work with both of them for all these years,” said Kelly, reflecting on his colleagues. “We’ve gotten a lot done as a team, as Nancy mentioned, we’ve been building schools and doing all of that for a long, long time, and those two were very instrumental in getting all of this done,” he said.

Walker will conclude a tenure with the Monongalia County BOE that started back in 1996. As part of her tenure, she not only served as board president during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she also served on the boards that oversaw the construction of the majority of the buildings constructed and renovated as part of the Monongalia County Schools Building Improvement Plan (which also included the relocation of University High School, the establishment of Skyview Elementary, and numerous other developments). She was also a major advocate for an increase in summer programming, which has just seen record participation in the Summer Avalanche and Summer Sizzler programs. With Walker preparing to say farewell to a school system she has helped grow, she hopes to see that positive momentum continue for the two new members set to be sworn in.

“It’s really been wonderful, I’m glad this board is going to be able to continue to have high academic standards,” said Walker. “And also, to provide things to families like free breakfast and lunch,” she said.

When the BOE meets again, Shawn Smith and Christina Fattore Morgan will take over the seats that have been filled by Lytle and Walker after winning the two at-large seats open during the 2024 primary election. When the transition is complete, Kelly will be the longest tenured member of the BOE and also the only member who has served since School Superintendent Eddie Campbell took over for Dr. Frank Devono back in 2018. With the school system ready to continue to maintain a reputation as one of the highest quality systems in the Mountain State and challenges involving school choice on the horizon, Kelly is looking forward to working with the new members.

“We have to think what’s going to be pertinent four or five years out, we don’t stay in the present too much and we have a great staff,” said Kelly. “So I hope we can keep going with that, I have all the confidence in the world in our two new members, I think we’re going to be fine,” he said.

The Mon County BOE also approved collaborative contracts for Universal Pre-K teachers, this allowed for a meeting that would be scheduled for June 30 to be cancelled as a result of the approved agreement. The BOE will meet again when Smith and Fattore Morgan are sworn into their positions on July 1.

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