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WVa siblings endure winding road to become teachers

Posted September 13, 2020 9:00 a.m. EDT

— They’re brother and sister, local educators who returned home to Wheeling to be close to their family.

Then this summer, both were granted doctoral degrees from the same university within days of each other.

Wheeling Park High School teacher Michael Romick, and his younger sister, Deborah Romick-Glynn, a teacher at Bridgeport Middle School, achieved their doctoral degrees in curriculum instruction from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., last month.

They participated in an intensive online doctoral program — which they admit, at times, could be difficult.

They leaned on each other for support during personal journeys that included medical and personal hardships, and had overcome these obstacles along the way.

Romick said it took him four years to complete the program, though he needed “to be involved in something” following the death of his wife in 2016.

Romick-Glynn is a cancer survivor, and currently is Title 1 reading program teacher to students in grades 5-8 at Bridgeport Middle School. It took her seven years to receive her doctorate.

She started her career as a reporter for The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register before going into teaching.

She has taught at the former Mt. DeChantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling, and in school districts in Cincinnati and London, Ohio.

Romick-Glynn said she once served as an educational administrator overseeing a gifted program, and was paid a “good salary.”

“But that’s not why you do it,” she said. “Anyone you know that is in education will tell you, if I wanted to make money I wouldn’t be teaching. There has to be something more.”

Being a teacher gives someone the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, according to Romick-Glynn. She said she has had many former students tell her years after they were in her classroom that she affected them in a positive way.

The Romicks said they heard the same words often said to their mother Alice, who has retired after more than 30 years teaching in Ohio County Schools.

They say it was Alice Romick, and their late father, the Rev. Robert Romick, who stressed the importance of education to them.

Romick-Glynn, a mother of two grown children, now shares a home with her mother in Wheeling.

Michael Romick teaches college composition and English 11 at WPHS. He didn’t start his adult life as a teacher either, but first had a successful career in sales and marketing for 18 years — rising to the ranks of a vice president at a major retail chain while living in St. Louis.

Then he left the corporate world to go into teaching, and first taught at Hermann High School in St. Louis before moving on to Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, Va. Following the death of his wife, he returned to Wheeling with his five children to be closer to family, and took a job at WPHS.

“When I go to my death bed, what am I going to tell my kids that I’m the most proud of — selling jeans or personal care products, and that’s what I did with my life?” he asked. “I want to make a difference one student at a time.

“I can always look back at the teachers who influenced me, and I would like to be that person.”

Romick-Glynn remembers teaching in the inner-city of Cincinnati City Schools, and personally witnessing the hardships they faced.

“I had kids that were homeless,” she said. “I would walk in the classroom, and see the roaches crawling off of them. The only kind word they might get that day was from me. If I have a kid in class who is so emotionally distraught because they don’t get love or attention or even a hug, how am I going to teach him about the Civil War? I am not teaching him anything.”

Michael Romick was very complimentary of Ohio County Schools and its efforts to help students in need.

“They take care of their kids,” he said. “When we were closed down for COVID, they continued to provide meals for kids every single week. It was insane. I have nothing but respect for my school district. They’re the kind of people you want to work for. That’s why I became a teacher, so I’m good.”

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