Ohio County Board of Education appoints new principals for 2024-2025 school year | News, sports, jobs

|Photo by Joselyn King| James Rowing, principal of Warwood Middle School, left, and Robert Demarest, principal of Warwood Elementary School, pause after being officially named principals of their respective buildings during Monday’s meeting of the Ohio County Board of Education. As of the new school year, the former Warwood School has been divided into a primary school and a secondary school.

The current school year is coming to an end, but Monday night the Ohio County Board of Education named three principals to officially take over administrative roles starting in August.

The former Warwood School will consist of two schools – a primary school and a secondary school – each with its own principals.

James Rowing, current principal of Warwood School, will take over as principal of Warwood Middle School.

Robert Demarest, current assistant principal at Warwood School, will become principal of the elementary side of the building. There will be no vice principals at either school, according to Superintendent Kim Miller.

The board approved the separation of Warwood School in late November, and the move was later approved by the West Virginia Department of Education.

Also on Monday, current Bellaire Middle School principal Jennifer Berdine was named the new principal of Bridge Street Middle School. She will succeed current principal Jessica Broski-Birch, who will assume the position of principal at Wheeling Country Day School.

Hiring Berdine brings her back to Ohio County Schools. She was previously a media teacher at Warwood School.

She attended Bellaire Middle School for three years and said she loved being a principal there.

“But I am excited to take on this role here in Ohio County,” Berdine told board members. “I look forward to working with the teachers, students, staff, families and community members to continue all the wonderful things happening at Bridge Street Middle School and across Ohio County Schools.

“I look forward to working under Dr. Miller and (Assistant Superintendent) Rick Jones to work to see that our students receive a first-class education.”

Demarest explained that as assistant principal at Warwood School, he worked primarily with elementary school students.

“It’s exactly where I want to be,” he continued. “It was hard work, but great at the same time.

“I am excited about the trust that has been built and the progress that has been made with students, staff, faculty and the community. I am grateful for the opportunity to build on that growth.”

Rowing thanked the board for allowing him to run the Warwood School during its senior year.

“You listened to my advocacy for Warwood School to be reorganized into two separate entities – and you did not allow me to talk myself out of my job and hired me as principal of Warwood Middle School,” he said.

“It has been an honor to work at Warwood for the past seven years. I’m excited to work with my wonderful collaborators. They continue to show up, innovate and create, always striving to do better every day, every year.”

Former member of the West Virginia Board of Education, Dr. James Wilson, was at the Ohio County Board of Education meeting Monday night and he asked if he could say a few words.

“I wanted to tell you all that during my nine years on the board, I always used Ohio County – and Marshall County, my home county – as an example of how a county (school district) should function,” he said. “You don’t always get along, but you always try to do things right.”

He noted that he never reads in the newspaper about the kinds of things happening in local school districts that he sees happening elsewhere in the state. There are others that fall under emergency aid programs, or where superintendents “have used federal funds to pay themselves vacation pay.”

When he reads about Ohio County Schools, it’s usually about positive performance, Wilson added.

“I just felt like I had to come here and thank you all for being a model to judge other boards by,” he said.

The board will next meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, the day after Memorial Day.

Today’s latest news and more in your inbox