School’s out: Nancy Walker ends 28-year tenure on Mon BOE

This coming Monday will be one of those “make a note of it” days for the Monongalia County Board of Education.

When the board meets that evening — Nancy Walker won’t be there.

Walker, whose 28 years on the board made her its longest-tenured member, announced earlier that when it came time for May’s primary election, her name wouldn’t be on the ballot.

“You have to know when it’s time,” the Eastern District incumbent said then.

The gavel came down on her final meeting — some 9,400 meetings, give or take — on Tuesday.

Her now-grown children were younger than the current ages of grandchildren in 1996 when she was first elected to the board.

She had a very specific platform and the slogan to go with it: “The Parents’ Voice.”

Donna Talerico, Mon’s deputy superintendent of schools, remembers those days. She was principal then of North Elementary, where the Walker kids went to school and the once-and-future board member was a mom in the mix.

“Nancy was always involved,” the deputy superintendent said.

“She was on PTA and the school-improvement council,” Talerico continued. “I wasn’t surprised when she said she was running for school board.”

Over the course of almost three decades, Walker helped oversee the transition of superintendents coming in to replace the ones seeking other opportunities.

She was in on the discussions and debates when new schools were built — and beloved ones were closed.

And she was there when the district had to quickly flip to remote learning as the pandemic raged.

Her final term will be marked by the Renaissance Academy.

Voters in May said no to the multimillion-dollar bond measure that would have built the standalone high school devoted solely to STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.

After the primary, Walker said it will be up to future incarnations of the board to decide if there will be another attempt to get such a school built here. Either way, she said, that discussion is more than likely inevitable.

This Monday, meanwhile, two now-future members will become present members, when Shawn Smith and Christina Fattore Morgan are sworn in.

Both outpaced the re-election effort of then-BOE president Ron Lytle in the primary. All three are from the Eastern District.

Walker told The Dominion Post in January that she knew the school district would continue doing good, consistent work — no matter who gets voted in to BOE.

“Everything we’ve done, and everything we’re doing, is in service to our students,” she said.

One of her favorite jobs on the board, she said, was going to commencement exercises at the district’s three high schools.

“I love watching our kids go forth on graduation day because I know they all got a good foundation while they were here. Look how well they do in the Ivy League.”

There’s a reason for that, she said.

“You won’t find a more-committed, caring group of teachers, anywhere, who are so good at what they do.”

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