Oak Glen principal retires after 45 years of service

NEW MANCHESTER-Oak Glen High School Principal Barbara Logue has been in public education long enough to remember segregated schools, Vietnam War protests and racial unrest.

With 45 years’ experience behind her, Logue says the battles are different today. They have to do with improving graduation rates, being able to afford college and helping teachers adapt to the constantly changing educational landscape.

“What I’m proud of is changing the mindset at Oak Glen. We’re really focused on academics. The rigor has been raised, and we’re preparing our students to go to college,” she said.

Logue, 66, a native of Weirton, is retiring after 12 years at Oak Glen and 45 years with Hancock County Schools. Her retirement is on the agenda for Wednesday’s board meeting and, if approved, will be effective June 30.

Logue said that through all the changes, and even a few tragedies, in her seven years as head principal, she has promoted “the idea that students can be anything they want to be. With hard work, it’s possible.”

Logue grew up in Weirton with immigrant parents-her father was from Hungary, her mother from England-who had high expectations of their daughter.

“My father was really into women’s rights, and he believed that women should have an education. He was adamant that his daughter should go to college,” she said.

Theirs was a home with two sets of encyclopedias and plenty of books. Living behind the old Weirton High School, Logue remembers seeing old school desks that had been thrown away.

“I can remember dragging the desks up to my yard and playing school. I was always the teacher. I kind of organized everything,” she said.

Logue graduated from Madonna High School in 1965 and West Liberty University in 1969. She went on to earn two master’s degrees at West Virginia University.

Following her student teaching at Marland Heights Elementary School, she was asked by Principal Dave Stevens to stay on.

“My answer to him was, ‘It sounds wonderful. I’ll have to ask my parents first,’ ” she said. “I had a couple other offers from out of state, and I was living at home at the time.”

Logue taught third and fourth grade at Marland Heights, then moved on to sixth and seventh grade at Weirton Junior High School. When it became Weirton Middle School, she switched to grades seven, eight and nine.

Her career as an administrator began at Allison Elementary School in Chester, where she was assistant principal from 2001 to 2002. From there, she moved to Oak Glen-first as assistant principal (2002), then as head principal (2007).

Logue said she has focused on preparing students for college academically and financially. During her tenure, the high school has pursued a dual credit program with West Virginia Northern Community College.

The number of courses that qualify students for both high school and college credit continues to grow, so much so that there will be three more next year-U.S. history, psychology and English composition. The three math dual credit courses are: advanced placement calculus AB, calculus BC and statistics, she said.

“We used to talk to the students a lot about taking higher math or higher science. Now I’m seeing that kids are just signing up for these because they see the value in them,” she said.

Logue said she also has stressed programs such as credit recovery, so students who have failed a class don’t have to re-take the entire class, and a GED option plan that prepares students to take the TABE (Tests of Adult Basic Education) test.

Among the most difficult things Logue has had to face as a high school principal was the fight-and its aftermath-that followed the Oct. 4, 2013, football game between Oak Glen and intracounty rival Weir High, and the Jan. 18 car accident that claimed the lives of three Oak Glen students.

The latter, she said, tested the school community, both teachers and students, in ways they could not have imagined.

“Not only did it bring the teachers closer, it brought the students closer. We looked to see what was important,” she said.

School board President Jerry Durante, who grew up on the same Weirton street as Logue, praised the principal for her professionalism.

“She’s been a very dedicated teacher and administrator,” Durante said. “Her rapport with the faculty and the students was just great. She’ll be missed.”

Durante said a selection committee will consider the matter of Logue’s successor in the coming months.