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Karen Willis

AHPS Board Clerk Karen Willis Is ‘Heartbeat of the Boardroom’

Low Moor, VA (Feb. 15, 2024) - The Alleghany Highlands School Board is recognizing its school board clerk, Karen Willis in honor of School Board Clerk Appreciation Week, Feb. 12-16.

The week-long recognition is sponsored by the Virginia School Boards Association and is part of School Board Appreciation Month also held in February.

“Even though showing appreciation should be a year-round process, taking advantage of the designated VSBA School Board Clerk Appreciation Week assures that these vital employees receive some of the thanks they deserve,” VSBA President Dr. Cardell Patillo said in a letter to school boards throughout the Commonwealth.

The theme for this year’s Clerk Appreciation Week is “The Heartbeat of the Boardroom.” 

Willis has been the clerk of the Alleghany Highlands School Board since April 2022.  As clerk, she handles a variety of requests for information from the board, superintendents, and the public.  A key part of her role is preparing school board meeting agendas to help keep the public informed.

"The school board has the important role of setting the vision for Alleghany Highlands Public Schools, and the staff works to help that vision become reality. Karen Willis as our clerk is a crucial link between these groups," said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson, leaders of AHPS.  “We are truly grateful for her diligence and dedication.”  

The school board’s primary responsibility is to set policy and vision for the school division.  The school division staff then implement the policies of the school board and take various steps to achieve the school division’s vision. The AHPS strategic plan is focused on student engagement as they learn, helping students be ready for their future in the community, and communication with stakeholders like families. 

In accordance with this plan, the school board facilitates high-level decisions about instructional resources and takes specific actions, such as the support of new Career and Technical Education programs and additional dual-enrollment opportunities. This work is facilitated by Willis who disseminates information to the school board as needed.

“Karen is a great part of our team!  She is always willing to help board members with questions, she keeps us well informed, and is always very accommodating. The school board certainly appreciates the contributions of Mrs. Willis,” said Jacob Wright, chair of the Alleghany Highlands School Board.  

As clerk, Willis maintains the school division policy manual. The policies are available on the AHPS website under the “school board” section.  Significant planning documents for the school division, including the strategic plan, are also available under the “school board” section. 

In the event of Willis’ absence, Fred Vaughan serves as the deputy clerk. Vaughan is a long-time local educator who is very familiar with school board practices.

“Karen and Fred deserve a lot of credit for their organizational skills. Their work helps our school board meetings flow very smoothly. In keeping with the VSBA theme, they are indeed ‘The Heartbeat of the Boardroom,’” Halterman and Snead-Johnson said. 

AHPS is a joint school division, created through the July 2022 merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. AHPS serves approximately 2,700 students and it is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington.

AHPS news and events are updated regularly on Facebook at AHPublicSchools, and Instagram at ahpublicschools. Information is also available at www.ahps.k12.va.us.


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