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Community support saves Beckley school counselor position

By Josephine E. Moore, The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Following several impassioned speeches from elementary teachers in Beckley at Tuesday’s school board meeting, the Raleigh County Board of Education chose not to transfer two counselors from elementary schools.

The decision was met with applause and tears from the more than 20 teachers and other community supporters present at the meeting to campaign on behalf of Kristie Norris, the school counselor at Beckley Elementary School, and Amber Cox, the school counselor at Stratton Elementary.

“Ms. Norris has been at Beckley since our school opened almost 20 years ago,” said Colleen Broyles, a special education teacher at Beckley Elementary.

“She’s the heart of our school … The students need her. We need her.”

The board was initially scheduled to vote on the transfer and reduction to part-time for Norris and Cox as part of several personnel recommendations on the agenda. However, the board chose to remove the recommendations for Norris and Cox prior to its vote.

Norris said she was humbled by the support shown by her coworkers during the meeting and was thankful that the board chose to take their words to heart.

Cox was also emotional following the board’s decision and said it was all for her students.

“I went before the board when all this happened for Stratton,” Cox said. “I didn’t do it for myself. It was for these kids and just to know that they know the needs, they see it. It just means so much that that message got across today.”

Raleigh Schools Board President Larry Ford said the community really spoke to them Tuesday night.

“The schools have a need there, and we’re just trying to fulfill the need, and the community, I think, spoke to that tonight,” Ford said.

While Norris and Cox were able to hold on to their positions, others were not.

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