Buerkley looking to stay student-focused

Summer break is rapidly coming to a close as the opening day of school for Pendleton County is Wednesday, August 15. It’s that day that new Superintendent Joe Buerkley returns to the district in which he was a student and an interested parent.

“We are a district that is ‘United and Pursuing Excellence,” Buerkley said which is the theme of Pendleton County Schools. “I have jotted down goals and know that it will take years to accomplish some of them, but through it all, we will focus on the students.”

“There is lots of noise on things that are important but we cannot let it drown out that our focus on students,” he continued as he noted four areas.

They are: the health of the student both physical and emotional, to actively engage students, having supportive, caring adults to work with students, and to challenge the students academically.

“We want staff to take risks for the benefit of students in preparing them for life after high school,” he said. “That is different for every child but they need to be problem solvers, a communicator and a team player.”

The 39-year-old started his career as a Health and Physical Education teacher at Bellevue before becoming assistant principal at Southern Elementary.

After finishing up his administrative certification, Buerkley joked, “that he was not ready for administration.” As many things in life work out, it was later in that week the assistant principal position became available.

He soon became principal and then Executive Director of Student Services for Pendleton County. Later, he added the title of Assistant Superintendent before moving to Campbell County as Assistant Superintendent of Operations.
“It was a good experience in operating in a district that was twice the size of here,” said Buerkley who indicated he oversaw everything with a school district except the academic side.

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