September 23, 2011

Manchin Congratulates West Virginia Principals of the Year

Senator Manchin meets with Middle School Principal of the Year Gary Higginbotham and High School Principal of the Year Bill Hughes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today congratulated two West Virginia educators who are being honored in the nation’s capital for their dedication and commitment to students. 

Gary Higginbotham, from Ravenswood Middle School in Jackson County, and Bill Hughes, from Winfield High School in Putnam County, were named Middle and High School Principal of the year, respectively. Mr. Higginbotham and Mr. Hughes are being honored at the National Principals Institute for their service, and they met Senator Manchin this week to discuss education issues facing the Mountain State. 

“Gary Higginbotham and Bill Hughes are two very talented education professionals, and I appreciate their dedication,” Senator Manchin said. “They have worked tirelessly to empower both educators and students in the classrooms and to give students the chance to get a good education from high quality teachers. These principals are very deserving of these honors – they believe, like I do, that the best way to invest in our future is to invest in our students.” 

Background: Short Bios for the Principal Higginbotham and Principal Hughes

Gary Higginbotham (Ravenswood Middle School - Ravenswood, WV)

Mr. Higginbotham is Principal at Ravenswood Middle School.  The school serves 344 middle school students in grades 6–8, has made adequate yearly progress for four consecutive years and was recognized as a West Virginia Exemplary School in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. In addition, it was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School in 2008.

Principal Higginbotham has worked with the staff and the community to establish a culture that exemplifies a family-oriented professional learning community. Teachers have a daily 45-minute team time built into their schedule— a best practice that many middle schools have had to abandon because of budget and staff cuts—that is used to focus on student success.

Bill Hughes (Winfield High School - Putnam County, WV)

Mr. Hughes, who was Putnam County’s Principal of the Year for 2010-2011, has been an administrator at Winfield High School for 11 years. Prior to that, he served as principal of Buffalo High School.

A proud Seminole, Mr. Hughes holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in health and physical education with a minor in science and coaching education. He obtained a master’s degree in counseling and rehabilitation from Marshall University, and a master’s degree in educational administration from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies.

Under Mr. Hughes’ leadership, Winfield High has received numerous recognitions, including West Virginia Department of Education School of Excellence and West Virginia Department of Education Exemplary School designations. The school has also garnered numerous athletic awards, including state swimming, show choir, track, volleyball, basketball, golf, cheerleading and baseball championships. They have won the Gazette Excellence in Sports Award numerous times.

Caption: Senator Manchin (middle) meets with Bill Hughes of Winfield High School in Putnam County (left) and Gary Higginbotham of Ravenswood Middle School in Jackson County (right).