Craig County Spotlight

Mr. Dustin Persinger (left) and Miss Melinda Huffman (right).

The McCleary Spotlight continues out of the regular classroom and into the classes that are referred to as “special activity” by the students. This week’s focus is on the guidance counselor, Mr. Dustin Persinger, and technology instructor/school testing coordinator, Miss Melinda Huffman.

This is Mr. Persinger’s second year at McCleary. In addition to being the guidance counselor, he also runs small groups and works individually with students from kindergarten to fifth-grade. There are times when he also works with middle and high school students. Miss Huffman has taught fifth-grade for many years and has been the technology instructor for the past five years. She taught second-grade for one year.

Mr. Persinger remembers watching his mother, kindergarten teacher Mrs. Nicole Persinger, spend countless hours working on lesson plans and talking to parents inside the local grocery store. From an early age, he felt connected to McCleary and the school system. When Miss Huffman was asked what made her get into teaching, she playfully blamed her former kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cathy Horn. “From the eyes of a kindergarten student, she was magical. I wanted to be Mrs. Horn when I grew up. Over the years, helping others is something that I’ve come to love. I often volunteer to help with younger classrooms and read with or tutor struggling students. I even started teaching early on at our church. We also had some great teachers in high school – Tom Rudisill, Phil Boyd, Stony Bolte, Jackie Cantley, Julian Barnes, Beth Swain and Mark Baetz – that also inspired a love of teaching. Technology became a love later in life. As a classroom teacher, I loved finding new ways to incorporate technology into our classroom.“

Miss Huffman says that some of her favorite things about teaching in Craig County include its size and it being her hometown. Coming back home to teach was always the plan. She further stated, “I received an excellent education in Craig and wanted to provide that for our students today.” Mr. Persinger stated that his favorite thing about teaching in Craig is, “I grew up and attended this same school. I feel honored that I was able to be Mr. Rickey’s successor and give back to the same community that helped raise me to be the person that I am today. I think that’s special and I am so grateful to have this opportunity.”

Mr. Persinger received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Human Development from Roanoke College. He graduated from Radford University with his Master’s in School Counseling.

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