The Warren County School Board tonight, June 26, 2020, voted unanimously to name Dr. Christopher Ballenger as the new superintendent for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS).
Ballenger, a native Oklahoman, starts his job with WCPS on July 1 for a four-year term, earning $150,000 yearly.
“I’m excited and honored to be the new superintendent of Warren County,” said Ballenger following the board’s appointment. “There are a lot of things that Warren County offers that I’m excited to be a part of. Within this system you have dedicated staff, you have wonderful people, and you have a community that is growing and vibrant and I’m excited to be a part of this.”
Ballenger — who previously served as an assistant superintendent in Oklahoma before becoming one of 10 candidates interviewed by the Warren County School Board — told the audience he has two children and his wife is a clinical-licensed psychologist with a private practice. “We’re excited about this transition and becoming part of a great school community,” he said. “I just want to be a part of this great community that’s going on and to be a part of allowing teachers and students to explore and be who they want to be.”
The new superintendent also said he looks forward to getting out into the community; visiting the schools and meeting with students and teachers, and working with his new team at WCPS.
The School Board’s special meeting, which was announced on Wednesday, lasted less than 10 minutes with no other business on the agenda. Prior to the board’s appointment of Ballenger, Warren County School Board Chairman Arnold Williams, Jr., made a special announcement.
“I would like to give a great big thank you to Mrs. Melody Sheppard for taking the reins for the last several months,” he said, referring to Sheppard taking over in January as the interim superintendent. “We went through a lot of changes that we had no idea were going to happen and you jumped right in… so, myself and the board would like to say thank you for your hard work and dedication to our school system.”
Sheppard in October 2019 was named by the board as WCPS Interim Superintendent and assumed her duties on January 1, coinciding with the retirement of former WCPS Superintendent Greg Drescher.
Sheppard since then has presided over several noteworthy situations, the largest being the forced early closure this year of the district’s schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in virtual learning, as well as tentative plans to reopen the schools this summer and fall.
Sheppard resumes her position as WCPS assistant superintendent next week and told the Royal Examiner she’s very happy to be doing so.
School Board member James Wells made the motion to appoint the new superintendent. School Board Vice Chairwoman Catherine Bower seconded the motion with all members voting aye, including Williams and School Board members Kristen Pence and Ralph Rinaldi.
The School Board holds its next regular meeting on Wednesday, July 1 at 7 p.m. Watch the entire special School Board meeting on the Royal Examiner video below, as well as a short interview with Ballenger.
Reaching Out Now partners with Warren County and Skyline High Schools to host Senior Planning Night
With the 2021-2022 school year in full swing, Reaching Out Now is partnering with Warren County and Skyline High Schools to host a Senior Planning Night! The event will be held at Warren County High School on November 18, 2021, from 5:30pm – 8:00pm, in the gymnasium and auditorium.
Senior Planning Night will cover important dates to guide senior year, decisions to make before graduation, financial planning, application processes, provide an opportunity to meet with college reps from around the state, and much more. Dinner will be provided! All Seniors and parents are invited and encouraged to attend. Interested Juniors may also attend to begin preparing for their Senior year.
Mr. Knesh, Principal of Warren County High School stated, “We look forward to sharing food and friendship while learning about navigating the college application process. We are also thrilled to give out two scholarships to seniors this evening to give them a head start towards their future college plans.” Mrs. Sperling, Principal of Skyline High School echoed his sentiments sharing “I am grateful for the partnership established between Reaching Out Now, Warren County High School, and Skyline High School. We are excited to jointly host a college planning night… where students and families can learn more about the process of planning for post-secondary education.”
All interested families, please register at: bit.ly/registerSeniorNight
Rotary Club of Front Royal announces registration for Doc Smith food baskets
The Rotary Club of Front Royal in a partnership with the Department of Social Services is excited to announce the registration for Doc Smith food baskets and coats for kids for those in our community in need.
The Doc Smith program has been a long-standing program in Front Royal. It was originated by Edgar C. Smith, Chief of Police in 1916, who was most commonly referred to as Doc Smith. The program was named after him based on his continued service to the needy.
Requests for baskets can be found at Department of Social Services, First Baptist Church, online at frontroyalpres.org and various locations around town.
The baskets are free of charge and contain food for the holidays. Deadline for requests is November 12, 2021.
Valley Health welcomes its first system-wide Chief Nursing Executive
Theresa L. Trivette, DNP, RN, CENP, joined Valley Health last week as its first Chief Nursing Executive (CNE), assuming responsibility for leadership of all nursing functions across the organization, advancing patient experience efforts, and collaborating in quality and patient safety initiatives.
“We are excited to welcome Theresa to the Valley Health Executive Leadership Team,” said Mark Nantz, Valley Health President and CEO. “Her engagement on our system leadership team will be valuable as we make decisions that impact our staff, patients and the community we serve. Theresa has an encouraging, data-driven leadership style, proven ability to communicate and collaborate across interdisciplinary teams, and a genuine passion for ensuring safe, high-quality patient care that will be an asset as we focus on providing best-in-class patient experience in all of our inpatient and outpatient settings.”
Most recently, Trivette served as chief nursing officer for Ballad Health in the Kingsport, TN, market. She has more than 20 years of experience in nursing leadership, and has a proven record of improving quality of care and patient experience for both large and small health care organizations, including Advent Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health. She has extensive experience in quality improvement, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB), the highest level of proficiency for this collaborative method of process improvement and organizational change.
“I am honored to serve Valley Health in this new role as the chief nurse executive,” said Trivette. “I will work to assure consistent patient care practices and standards, and educate and mentor nursing staff and nursing leadership across our system. We will establish a vision and strategy together with our clinical and support colleagues to deliver exceptional patient experiences and outcomes. My immediate goal is to do everything possible to support the tireless efforts of the Valley Health care teams during this pandemic while creating a vision for the future as we continue to focus on clinical excellence.”
Trivette earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the Medical University of South Carolina, a master’s degree in nursing administration from Gardner-Webb University, a bachelor’s degree in health care management and project management from the University of Maryland, and an associate’s degree in nursing from the College of Southern Maryland. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and holds the Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) credential from the American Organization of Nurse Leaders.
Trivette serves as senior examiner on the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest recognition awarded to organizations for performance excellence. She holds collaborative faculty and advisory positions on several university and college of nursing program councils in Florida and Tennessee.
Trivette and her husband, Scott, look forward to making their new home in the region and discovering all the area has to offer.
Valley Health is a nonprofit health system serving a population of more than 500,000 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and western Maryland. As a healthcare provider, employer, and community partner, Valley Health is committed to improving the health of the region. The system includes six hospitals, more than 60 medical practices and Urgent Care centers, outpatient rehabilitation and fitness, medical transport, long-term care, and home health. www.valleyhealthlink.com
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for October 18 – 22, 2021
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Front Royal Main Street eatery changes ‘Yappy Hour’ day from Friday to Monday, updates menu
One of Main Street’s popular restaurants recently underwent a name and menu change and also switched the day it devotes to “Yappy Hour.”
During the past couple of years, ViNoVa owner Rachel Failmezger and executive chef Chris Kenworthy featured a tapas menu similar to a Spanish favorite, now moving along to an Italian-Mediterranean style of cooking and changing its long-running “Yappy Hour” from Friday evenings to Mondays (4-6 p.m.). Restaurant hours of operation also have been amended, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday (closed Tuesday) and noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.
The restaurant’s new name retains its original “ViNoVa” with the added words “Mediterranean Bistro.” The property seats about 50 and each Friday, off and on for the past decade, has helped donate thousands of dollars to the Humane Society of Warren County’s Julia Wagner Animal Shelter.
Rachel, noting differing (earlier) eating habits since the pandemic struck, suggests closing earlier than 2 a.m. better meets the needs of an expanded staff and earlier diners, as would the changed menu.
“Overall, we will be more flexible, more accommodating,” Rachel opined in a recent interview as nearby regular customers appeared to be in agreement with the menu changes. “Whatever restaurants did two years ago, they cannot do today. It’s a new age for us,” she said, mentioning that the entrees will be larger, and there will be an emphasis on lunches, particularly the quick “take out” type featuring the “Viva Bowl” in which you choose your own ingredients for an affordable $9 “to go!”
Something to remember by early birds at the Bistro: beer and wine prices are staggered starting at $3 per glass for a beer at 3 p.m., rising to $4 at 4 p.m. and then on to $5 at 5 p.m. for the rest of the evening.
Linden man arrested, charged for child abuse
On October 12, 2021, at approximately 8:20pm, Warren County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an 8-year-old juvenile walking on Freezeland Road, Linden, Virginia. The caller stated the juvenile advised them they were running away from home due to being abused by their father. Deputies responded to 78 Lookout Point Way, Linden, Virginia, where the juvenile resides to perform a welfare check. Upon arrival deputies spoke with Matthew Steven Lewis, the juvenile’s father, and made contact with the juvenile. During the welfare check, deputies observed that the juvenile had sustained multiple injuries. Deputies had Warren County Fire & Rescue respond to the residence, and the juvenile was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital for further treatment.
After the initial investigation Matthew Steven Lewis was placed under arrest for Domestic Assault (M), Child Endangerment (F), and Strangulation (F). Matthew Steven Lewis was held without bond at RSW Regional Jail, preliminary hearing is set for November 4, 2021.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Front Royal Police Department, Virginia State Police, and Warren County Department of Social Services for their assistance.