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Retirement of Kanawha schools superintendent sets off series of promotions

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With its deputy superintendent soon taking over the top job, the Kanawha County Board of Education has promoted an assistant superintendent into the deputy role.

Effective July 1, Mark Milam, assistant superintendent over the county’s high schools and vocational schools, will become the deputy superintendent. Paula Potter, the assistant superintendent over middle schools and alternative programs, will move into Milam’s current high school spot.

The middle school role Potter leaves behind will be filled by current Dunbar Middle School Principal Amon Gilliam. The assistant superintendent over elementary education, Bob Calhoun, is retiring and being replaced by a former principal of several elementary schools, Mellow Lee.

Both Gilliam and Lee have previously led schools on Charleston’s West Side.

Earlier this year, the school board promoted current Deputy Superintendent Tom Williams to replace retiring longtime Superintendent Ron Duerring in a controversial vote. Duerring is leaving his position at the end of June.

The majority in that 3-2 vote cut off any search for a new superintendent and picked Williams, without even posting the position for applicants.

In contrast, the board voted unanimously Thursday night to take all of its new personnel actions.

Milam will be paid $130,000 annually as the new deputy superintendent, up from his current salary of $118,000. Williams’ salary will increase from $130,000 to $150,000 as the top superintendent.

Milam, 63, said he’s worked his entire career in Kanawha public schools, starting in 1979 as a teacher at Cedar Grove Community School.

He said he took his first assistant principal job at the now-closed DuPont Junior High, and his first principal job at East Bank Junior High, which is now East Bank Middle.

“I look at it as another goal to accomplish,” Milam said of his new position. “I’m looking forward to the adventure, working with Dr. Williams and board members and moving the county along even further than we are now.”

Milam said he doesn’t yet know what he’ll focus on as deputy because he needs to meet with Williams and see how he organizes his staff’s duties.

Kanawha schools spokesperson Briana Warner provided much of the following career details about the other individuals changing positions:

  • Potter, the new high school and vocational school assistant superintendent, has been overseeing middle schools since 2017. Before that, she was principal of Ben Franklin Career and Technical Center, Riverside High and Hayes Middle, among other positions. Her first Kanawha position was as an English teacher at Hayes Middle in 1994.
  • Gilliam, who will now oversee the middle schools, has been Dunbar Middle’s principal since 2013. Before that, he led Stonewall Jackson Middle on the West Side. He was a health teacher and behavioral disorder teacher at both schools before that.
  • Lee, who’s succeeding Calhoun as the elementary education assistant superintendent, is currently a Title I transformation specialist at multiple schools. Title I is a federal program that aids kids from low-income backgrounds. Before that, she was principal of Bridgeview Elementary and Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary, and also worked at two other West Side schools: Stonewall Jackson Middle and the now-closed Watts Elementary.

Reach Ryan Quinn at ryan.quinn@wvgazettemail.com, facebook.com/ryanedwinquinn, 304-348-1254 or follow @RyanEQuinn on Twitter.

Funerals for Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Adams, Mary - 1 p.m., Ohio Valley Memorial Gardens.

Bibbee, Naomi - 1:15 p.m., procession to leave O'Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Bordenet, Effie - 2 p.m., Sunset Memorial Park, South Charleston.

Dorsey, Charles - 11 a.m., Ravenswood Cemetery, Ravenswood; also streaming live, see obituary.

Evans Jr., Frank - 1 p.m., St. Timothy Lutheran Church.

Fleck, Rosia - 2 p.m., Britton Cemetery, Charleston.

Fox, Helen - 2:15 p.m., Beech Grove Cemetery, Eleanor.

Hedrick, William - 1 p.m., Wallace Memorial Cemetery, Clintonville.

Johnson, Barry - Noon, Mt. Moriah Cemetery.

Mathes, Helen - 1 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

McClure, Karen - 11 a.m., East Lawn Cemetery, Canvas.

Mikeal, Chelsea - 1 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Parog, Drema - Noon, Mt. Tabor Church of God, St. Albans.