With all the crazy changes going on of late in the country due to COVID-19, it’s nice to see that some things can remain constant. Next month, Westmoreland County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry’s contract with the School Board was due to expire, as each contract lasts four years.

Surprising to absolutely no one, the motion to grant Dr. Perry another four years as superintendent passed unanimously, with Board Member Sandra Ramsay joking, “Could we make it twenty?”

“We’ll start at four and work our way from there,” Chairman Ralph Fallin quipped in turn. Afterwards, each board member, starting with Iris Lane, was allowed to give a comment and thanks.

“He’s been a great leader over the last five years,” Lane mentioned. “Thank you for everything you’ve done to help out our kids. It’s an amazing experience, and I’m so thankful.”

“I truly feel blessed,” Vice Chairman Dr. Daniel Wallace chimed in with afterwards, “God has truly blessed us with you.”

Comments from Ramsay and Katherine Lewis echoed the sentiments, with Chairman Fallin getting the last word in before Dr. Perry could give a response of his own.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you,” the chairman said, “and I appreciate you putting up with me as Board Chair. I do think that you, I, and the entire board make an outstanding team; so thank you for your commitment to our students, our school system, our parents, teachers, staff, and everyone else involved in it.

“I’ve told a number of people,” Chairman Fallin continued, “that your commitment to this school system is more reflective of someone who grew up in this area their whole life. It’s truly been exceptional.”

With Dr. Perry finally able to respond in kind, his praise was not just at the School Board members, but also his own staff, such as Deputy Superintendent Cathy Rice.

“First of all, I want to thank you. It’s truly been like a family since I’ve been here,” he spoke, “I only have a couple of members with me here right now, but it’s just an incredible team to work with. I thank them because they make it easy.”

“I know we’re going to be under some heavy constraints going forward over the next four years,” Chairman Fallin commented afterwards, “but working together, we’ll get a lot accomplished.”

Dr. Perry arrived back in 2015, and has been hard at work ever since on trying to get the school system back on its feet and out of the doldrums it had been in. The most notable accomplishment during his tenure is the commencement of the construction of the new high school, which will replace the current building that is Washington & Lee High School.