By Isha Patel -- Eagle Staff Writer
The 2023-2024 school year has just started pushing everyone out of vacay mode into school mode in just a few weeks. The new school year comes with new students, new teachers, and other changes. This school year FCPS has hired a new superintendent Dr.Kevin W. Siers. Here in his own words is Dr.Siers.
“I was born in Ankara, Turkey while my dad served in the United States Air Force. We lived in Turkey and Taiwan for a few years and moved to West Virginia once his tour was finished. I was raised in southern West Virginia and graduated from Mullens High School in 1988,” Siers said.
“I was on the football and Quiz Bowl teams and acted in drama productions,” Siers added.
Dr. Siers also decided to join the Air Force for a few years. “I currently live in Henry, VA with my wife of 30 years, Jane. I am a US Army Veteran who served tours in the former Republic of Yugoslavia on a peacekeeping mission following their civil war in the 1990s and in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.”
But alongside joining the Air Force, Dr. Siers also continued his education. “I obtained my Bachelor's degree from Concord University in Athens, WV, a master's degree in school administration from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and a Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA,” Siers listed.
After obtaining his degrees, Dr. Siers held various positions in a number of different school divisions. “I have worked previously as a superintendent in Pulaski County, VA, and Monroe County, WV. Before becoming a superintendent, I was a nine-year high school principal, taught 5th and 6th grade, and was a social worker,” he explained.
Dr. Siers shared that his diverse career experiences have taught him a lot. “I have learned that we have great students, incredibly talented teachers, and hundreds of support staff who care about kids and are very good at their jobs."
Throughout his many relocations, Dr. Siers feels that this transition into Franklin County has been the easiest. "The transition to Franklin County has been one of the best and smoothest transitions of my career,” Siers said. “I give complete credit to the previous superintendent, Dr. Bernice Cobbs, who did a great job of structuring things so that I knew many of the teachers and administrators, toured every school and had a solid understanding of the major projects that were taking place in Franklin County before I started in this new role,” Siers elaborated.
As part of this transition, Dr. Siers has entered FCPS with some new visions and changes in mind. “My philosophy is that educators need to continually look for ways to make school a positive experience for each student. Not every student will enjoy every subject they have to take before finishing school but if we can make learning fun and help everyone have some activities and classes that they like, school becomes a much better place to attend each day,” he explained.
In terms of changes, Siers is most interested in ensuring that FCPS is looking to the future for both students and staff. “As for changes, I think that we have a great school division and don't see the need for any major changes. We will be working with the county to try to bring a new Career and Technical Education center to Franklin County High School, so that will be one of my primary goals to begin working on this year,” Siers continued.
There is also the challenge of attracting and retaining quality educational staff. “Making sure that we are funded well enough to retain our current employees and attract others into the county is probably the number one challenge for the next few years” Siers shared . “There is currently a major teacher shortage in the United States and schools must do everything possible to try to keep people in the profession while attracting younger people to enter it."
Although there are many challenges facing FCPS, Jeff Worley, the Rocky Mount District School Board representative and sitting chairman of the Franklin County School Board thinks that Dr. Siers is an excellent fit as superintendent to face them and will do an amazing job. ”My first impression of Dr. Siers was his easy going demeanor and command of knowledge regarding running a school division and education. It was clear that he had a wealth of knowledge about being a superintendent.”
Worley also commented on Dr. Siers’s willingness to listen and understand everyone. ”He is also very humble and unassuming. As I have gotten to know him, I have seen how much he cares about children, students, and families, and also about the staff of FCPS. He listens to concerns and wants to make sure as much as possible that voices are heard,” Worley explained.
According to Worley, Dr. Siers hasn't wasted any time getting started. "He has been going to schools and listening to staff, setting up committees to help with policy and curriculum, among other things," he elaborated.
"We take a lot of pride in our division and Dr. Siers shares that pride as well," Worley concluded. "Our board is dedicated to working with him to ensure that FCPS is the best it can be for students and staff, and also for the Franklin County community.”