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Former schools superintendent Jorea Marple plans to sue over her dismissal

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Former state Superintendent Jorea Marple plans to sue the West Virginia Department of Education over her termination, education officials confirmed Jan. 2.

Marple's attorneys, Timothy N. Barber, Thomas Patrick Maroney, A. Andrew MacQueen III and Rudolph L. DiTrapano sent the notice of claim and relief Jan. 2 to the board.

According to the notice, Marple seeks to be reinstated to her position, a formal finding by the board that her termination was "without foundation in existing jurisprudence," and compensatory and punitive damages.

"Since the action of the board was without any legal or ethical basis, it was clearly accomplished by willful, wanton and or malicious conduct on the part of the board," the notice alleges.

Marple also seeks a full due process hearing. 

Marple was hired as the state superintendent of schools in 2011 and was originally fired during a November board meeting.

Board members revisited her employment status during a second meeting in December, but once again decided in a 6-2 vote to terminate her employment.

During the December meeting, President Wade Linger mentioned the state's education statistics, noting West Virginia students rank below the national average in 21 of 24 categories of the National Assessment of Education Progress. He also noted the state's graduation rate is at 78 percent and one in four high school students will not graduate on time.

Board spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said the board has not yet received a complaint so it could not comment on the matter at this time.

"Meanwhile, the board will continue its on-going open dialogue with educational stakeholders, the governor and members of the West Virginia Legislature to move forward with education reforms that advance student achievement levels and the well-being of our more than 280 thousand school children."