Greenbrier BOE member Mary Humphreys discusses school improvements, goals for the future

By Matthew Young, RealWV

“Education is my passion. I want to make a difference. I know that sounds trite, but it’s in my blood.”

That’s how Mary Humphreys explained the motivation behind her decision to seek re-election to the Greenbrier County Board of Education. On Wednesday, Humphreys spoke with RealWV regarding some of the board’s previous successes, as well as their objectives for the future.

“When I came on in 2016, they had just finished work at Crichton (Elementary School),” Humphreys said. “Since then, of course we had the flood, so we had to build Rupert (Elementary School), which was very much needed.”

“We’re currently working on Alderson Elementary, which we’re really excited about,” Humphreys continued. “We’re repurposing Alderson High School to make it into the elementary school.” 

In addition to Alderson, Humphreys noted, Greenbrier County Schools has recently received funding to complete the necessary improvements to Frankford Elementary School. 

“We have 13 school buildings (in Greenbrier County),” Humphreys said. “It takes a lot of time and money to keep them up. It’s just like your home – and you know how much it takes to keep that up. Multiply that by 13.”

As it so often is, Humphreys cites money as the biggest impediment to progress. Despite those limitations on financial resources, however, Humphreys is proud of the improvements made to Greenbrier County school buildings and facilities, and is confident that those improvements will continue well into the future. 

Beyond the physical enhancements, Humphreys said the board hopes to do more with Greenbrier County’s current offering of career and technical education (CTE) programs, noting, “I really think that’s important.”

“We have a cooperation with New River (Community and Technical College), and that helps,” Humphreys said. “I’d like to see us put more money into those programs.”

Humphreys referenced Greenbrier County’s Emily Dunkle, who was recently recognized by the W.Va. Dept. of Education as the “CTE New Teacher of the Year,” as an example of what dedicated educators can accomplish when given the opportunity.

“She (Dunkle) is really a great asset to our program, and she does a great job,” Humphreys explained. “Her hard work has brought a lot of much needed attention to the CTE program.”

Beyond further investment in CTE, Humphreys hopes to see more social workers in the schools, noting, “We have guidance counselors, of course, and we have Communities In Schools. They all do a wonderful job, but I just think we need social workers as well. In today’s age, we need that.”

“Again, that’s an issue with money,” Humphreys added. 

A lifetime resident of Greenbrier County, Humphreys has spent nearly four decades in education. After spending the first several years of her career as an elementary school teacher, Humphreys transitioned into the high school ranks. 

“I think being a lifelong educator helps me with being on the board,” Humphreys said. “I know what goes on, I know what teachers face, and I know what kids face. I think that’s what gives me an advantage with being on the board – I think being in education helps you to make the right decisions.”

“I really care about our kids, and I really care about our teachers and staff,” Humphreys added. “My interest is education, and I want people to know that I serve them, not myself.”

Board of Education elections in Greenbrier County will take place on Primary Election Day, Tuesday, May 14. 

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