The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education approved the resignation — effective May 28 — of Jeff Conroy, principal of Belle Aire Intermediate School, this week during its regular monthly board meeting.
Conroy — who has served as principal for four years — decided to resign as he has retired three times already and is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren. Additionally approved during the board meeting was the next Belle Aire principal, Brian Cartwright.
“WCHCS has been blessed these past four years by having Jeff Conroy assume the role of principal at Belle Aire,” WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey said on Thursday. “The caliber of someone like Mr. Conroy cannot be duplicated and this has been proven by the unprecedented growth at Belle Aire. On several occasions Mr. Conroy and Belle Aire were recognized by the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators, and Ohio School Boards Association for accelerated student achievement and a strong cultural shift. I was blessed to have Jeff join our team at Washington Court House when I arrived, and he has been nothing but an absolute blessing for our kids, our staff, and our community. He will be missed greatly.”
According to WCHCS Director of Marketing and Communication Trevor Patton, during Conroy’s tenure Belle Aire was one of 66 schools in Ohio to earn the title High Progress School of Honor out of 3,000 schools in Ohio. This honor was earned through “…sustaining high achievement and/or substantial progress while serving a significant number of economically disadvantaged students.”
“Additionally, Belle Aire earned the state’s Momentum Award, recognizing the school for exceeding expectations in student growth for the year,” Patton said. “Schools must earn straight A’s on all Value-Added measures on the report card. The school must have at least two Value-Added subgroups of students, which includes gifted, lowest 20% in achievement, and students with disabilities. Belle Aire was one of only 226 schools out of over 3,000 in Ohio receiving such honors.”
Conroy — who is in his 41st year serving students either as a coach, an educator or administrator — said he got his start at Glouster-Trimble, which is outside of Athens, Ohio, as a physical education teacher and a football coach. From there he moved to Waverly where he served as an assistant football coach and a math teacher for two years before moving on to Oak Hill where he took his first head football coaching position and also taught physical education, health and driver’s education.
“I am just tickled to death that I am still with it after teaching driver’s education for four years at Oak Hill,” Conroy said. “It was quite an experience.”
After serving as the head football coach at Oak Hill for four years, he finally made it to Fayette County where he began to work for Miami Trace Local Schools as the head football coach — a position he served in with great success for 18 years. Combined with his time as a principal at both the elementary school and the middle school, and as an assistant principal at the high school — including retiring two times from the district — he served 27 years at Miami Trace.
About four years ago he was asked to come to Washington Court House City Schools to serve as principal once again, this time at the Belle Aire Intermediate School. It was then he started working with his assistant principal, Cartwright, to provide for the students of WCHCS.
“This makes 41 years though and I am feeling pretty good about it,” Conroy said. “I am a grandfather — I have four grandkids — and I am looking forward to spending time with them and maybe looking to do some other things. I really enjoy watching them participate in different events and this gives me the opportunity to have that freedom to take them to different events and places and work with them a little bit. Probably will also have a little golfing or fishing wrapped up in there from time to time. I don’t think I am done working yet, but I am looking at some new things down the road.”
Conroy also took time to express his gratitude for Cartwright being selected to fill the position and to the community who has supported him for many years.
“(The position) is well-deserved, Brian is a high-character person,” Conroy said. “He bleeds the blue and white. He is the person at Belle Aire whose focal point has been here for many years and I am very excited for Brian to step in and lead this building. He is going to do a wonderful job. We have made a great team and I appreciate his hard work and all he does for this place. They are very lucky to get Brian to lead them here at Belle Aire. I know the people here are excited to have him and he will continue to do a great job.
“It has been a wonderful time in Fayette County for me and my family. I have had the best of both worlds, I had a chance to work at Miami Trace for numerous years as a coach, teacher and administrator and then I jumped lines and came over here with this Washington Court House family and it has been just a wonderful experience. Fayette County is fortunate to have two great school districts and a ton of great teachers and administrators, and I just feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with both schools and I made a lot of friends. If you asked me 15 years ago if I was ever going to be a Blue Lion, I would have had to laugh at you, but I truly appreciate the opportunity that (WCHCS Superintendent) Tom Bailey and the school board gave me to come over to their family too. I have tremendous friends here at Belle Aire and tremendous friends at Miami Trace with great memories of both places.”
Also approved during the meeting were several other resignations, including a substitute teacher and secretary and a sixth grade ELA teacher at the Washington Middle School, as well as employment for a substitute bus driver and four substitute teachers. Additionally, nearly two dozen coach contracts were approved for the spring sports season.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of Washington Court House City Schools.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.