PRINCETON — Mercer County’s superintendent of schools announced Tuesday her upcoming retirement after 47 years in the school system with 32 of those years in the administration of Mercer County Schools. Born in Mercer County, Superintendent Deborah Akers started her career as an elementary school teacher in 1974. In 1980, she became the coordinator of in service and continuing education/elementary
supervisor at the central office for Mercer County Schools. From there, she held the positions of coordinator of planning, research and evaluation, personnel director, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent.
Akers became the superintendent of Mercer County Schools in 1993.
Akers is retiring June 30 at the end of the school year, according to Amy Harrison, data and information specialist for Mercer County Schools.
The first woman to hold the chief executive officer title in the school system in the southern tier of West Virginia counties, Akers has also been an adjunct professor for Marshall University, West Virginia University, West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, Bluefield State College, Concord College and Bluefield College, according to the board of education.
New schools built under her tenure are Bluefield Primary, Mountain Valley, Oakvale Elementary, Princeton Primary, Bluefield Intermediate, PikeView High School and PikeView Middle School. On Monday, the West Virginia School Building Authority approved a $9.6 million grant for the construction of a new school to consolidate the aging schools in Bluewell and Brushfork.
Additional classrooms and spaces have been added to Princeton High School, Princeton Middle School and Bluefield High School. Major improvement projects such as roof replacement and HVAC updates have been completed in many schools. Akers said that a project to get Mountain View Elementary and Bluefield Primary School as well as the upcoming school for the Bluewell area started several years ago. Now that the state SBA has approved a grant for the new school, it is a good time to depart. The county school system is in a good position with the grant in place as well as federal funding that stabilizes staffing for about two years, so it will make the transition to a new superintendent smoother, she added.
“It puts me in a position of feeling like we’ve accomplished that,” Akers said. “It’s been an honor to serve Mercer County, being my home county, as superintendent.”
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