PRINCETON — Members of the Mercer County Board of Education issued a statement Thursday after conducting an annual state-required evaluation of the county’s superintendent of schools.
“State statute requires boards of education to evaluate their superintendent each year. The Mercer County Board of Education commends Dr. Deborah Akers for her excellent leadership during the past year,” according to the board of education’s statement. “Dr. Akers has led Mercer County Schools for twenty-six years, the longest of any current superintendent in West Virginia. The consistency of leadership is a tribute to her effectiveness, her extensive knowledge, and her devotion to the success of Mercer County students.”
“Dr. Akers is a highly successful manager of Mercer County Schools’ administrative affairs. She has assembled a highly effective staff to aid in that effort. Perhaps the area we most appreciate is the efficient management of our fiscal affairs. Despite ever-increasing costs, a limited budget, and an ambitious building program, she has maintained our essential programs and facilities while keeping Mercer County in the black. The respect that Dr. Akers has earned among state leaders has played a major role in our ability to secure funding for the new Mountain Valley Elementary and Bluefield Primary Schools,” the board of education said.
“Dr. Akers focuses on communicating with and maintaining positive relationships with our employees, students, and the community. Our employees are without doubt the most crucial element in our success and, accordingly, Dr. Akers makes a special effort to provide all the materials, training, and support needed for their success. Mercer County has one of the strongest programs of professional development in the state,” according to the board of education’s statement. “A positive relationship with students is also of major importance. This year, Dr. Akers sought student input by placing them on a committee to adjust the county cell phone usage policy. This was an important first step toward a practice of encouraging more student autonomy in our schools. A positive relationship with the community is evidenced by community support for closing schools and building new facilities for our elementary students.”
“The academic success of Mercer County students is paramount to the Board of Education and to Dr. Akers,” according to the board. “Mercer County Schools’ aim is for all students to leave our schools armed with the academic skills and the character required for the twenty-first century. Schools that provide a safe, inclusive, supporting, and academically challenging climate are essential for student success.”
“Some of the programs highlighting this year’s achievements include the introduction and initiation of the Math 4 Life program throughout the county and the addition of a program in criminal justice at MCTEC. Dr. Akers continues to work to address the social and emotional needs of our students by supporting adding more social workers in our schools whenever possible. Moreover, this year’s progress also includes enhancement of student safety by employing resource officers in most of our secondary schools,” according to the board of education. “In short, the Board of Education is pleased with Dr. Akers leadership, and we thank her for her dedication to the students of Mercer County.”