GRAFTON -- Taylor County's newest school superintendent has a vision for the future -- and the experience and credentials to back it up.
Jane M. Reynolds, a 27-year veteran of public education, was sworn in Wednesday as the first female superintendent in the county's history. She previously spent 11 years in the Marion County school system, including three as superintendent.
That experience will give Reynolds a good basis for running a school system, she said.
"The situation when I served in Marion County was very different than it is here," she said. "At that time, Marion County was involved in a very large reduction in force, we had a deficit of $750,000 and we were constructing a new school.
"Taylor County is not in the same situation at all," she said. "They've already had to close some schools out of necessity, so that won't be an issue. That allows me to spend more time devoted to the curriculum and expanding programs."
While Reynolds, whose husband of 20 years, George, is principal of Mount Vernon Elementary School in Barbour County, does not have any immediate plans for change, she does have lots of ideas.
"I have a strong commitment to this school system and I want to do everything in my power to ensure the children are prepared for the work world," she said. "I look forward to working with the business community, the board, the employees and the children to be able to provide the best education possible.
"At first, I'll be waiting for directions from the board and the public to give an indication of what they would like to see, but I also have a number of programs of my own," she said.
Reynolds said she wants to focus on basic academic skills, ensuring that all students are proficient. Additionally, she believes that physical health and fitness are just as important as academia.
"I hope to implement several programs to ensure knowledge of health and physical fitness," she said.
Reynolds said she was very happy to be back in Taylor County and is looking forward to beginning her tenure, which officially starts Saturday.
Reynolds lived in Flemington as a child, is a proud graduate of the now-defunct Shinnston High School and is a West Virginia University alumnus. Her 18-year-old daughter, Meredith, will be attending WVU in the fall, but won't be following in her parents' footsteps -- she plans to study accounting.
One of Reynolds' major goals will be the passage of a levy.
"I want to work closely with the community about passing a levy," she said. "We need to work hand-in-hand to move the schools forward."
Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446.