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Search continues for state superintendent

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During the West Virginia Board of Education meeting Oct. 9, a motion to proceed with the process of hiring a firm to conduct a search for the state superintendent schools was brought before the board and passed.

Consultation and collaboration on the hiring process has taken place among the purchasing division of the state, the Department of Education and the attorney general's office. At this point, a preauthorization has been submitted to the state purchasing division for the Request For Bid to hire a firm to help search for the right candidate.

A timeline also has been drafted for the search process. The goal is to have a search firm chosen and in place by January to choose the state superintendent.

Once the search firm has been decided, the final selection of a state superintendent is projected to take between four and eight months. 

During the board's August meeting, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey told members his office would help answer legal questions related to the search, such as open meeting laws and ethics issues.

The West Virginia Legislature recently changed state code to eliminate the section that had required the state's superintendent have a degree in education administration. The Legislature also removed the salary cap that had been on the position.

The board hired James Phares as superintendent in December 2012 to replace Jorea Marple, who was fired in November 2012. The board said at that time it planned to conduct a nationwide search for a long-term superintendent.

This month's meeting agenda included discussion regarding a pending legal matter between Marple and the state Board of Education, which was discussed in an executive session with no action taken.