(05/16/2006)
The Calhoun County Board of Education extended a one-year contract to Superintendent Ron Blankenship, during Monday evening's meeting.

The 58-year-old Blankenship, who has over 28 years experience in education, was West Virginia's Superintendent of the Year in 2005.

Blankenship has often been the subject of positive and negative public opinion, but most agree he administers with what has been described as "dogged determination" to keep the system operating, above water.

A national education magazine, "The School Administrator," recently said "Blankenship probably could have his pick of any administrative job in education. Yet he has chosen to hold the reins of leadership in one of the most sparsely populated and economically depressed areas in West Virginia for most of his professional life."

"With dogged determination to ensure his charges have a fighting chance in a global marketplace that threatens to leave behind rural outposts, Blankenship remains committed to Calhoun County, located 90 minutes north of Charleston, the state capital. It's also his birthplace and where he commenced his teaching career in 1969," the magazine reported.

"My heart's here," he says. "I left once and came back. It's home. Always will be."

He has also been given the Glenville State College Board of Governor's Presidential Citation. He is the Executive Director of RESA IV.

Blankenship more recently helped members of the state senate craft the legislation that now provides additional funds for county school systems that drop below 1,400 students in order to cover basic services.

That extra money has allowed the hiring of a school nurse and add a foreign language instructor.

Blankenship began his first 16-year stretch as superintendent in 1975, the schools had nearly 1,900 students. The head count has now dropped below 1,200.

He holds membership in both the West Virginia Association of school Administrators, the American Association of School Administrators, as well as working on the Workforce Investment Board and his Chairmanship of the West Virginia One Step Committee.

Blankenship has also served for nearly 35 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.


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