WVEA President Dale Lee appears before the State BOE once again

Hello again.  I’m WVEA President Dale Lee and we really need to stop meeting like this!

I am here today to address two items that have been brought to my attention.  The first involves changing the qualifications for the position of the State Superintendent of Schools.

The one qualification that is a necessary requirement for the position is that the Superintendent has experience working in public schools as both a teacher and an administrator.  Our current requirements of a MA in educational administration and no less than five years of experience in public school work are not a hindrance to bringing in qualified applicants. 

Quite honestly, those requirements are necessary if the education employees of the state are going to accept and embrace the next superintendent.  It is also necessary for the Superintendent to understand the art of teaching.  There is no way to experience it unless you have done it.

I recently read an article where Mr. Linger stated that we needed to revise the qualifications in order to do a national search.  There is currently nothing in statute regarding the qualifications for Superintendent that would hamper a national search.   There is currently no requirement that the applicant have experience in our state. The recent publicity and actions of this board will do more to hamper a national search for a qualified applicant than the qualifications currently in statute.

There is no need to postpone moving forward unless the rumors I am hearing from reporters are true and you are planning on appointing   Dr. Phares for a period of 18 months while you search for a qualified candidate.  If the rumors are true, a couple of things immediately come to mind.

Why would you delay a search for a qualified applicant and appoint a placeholder for 18 months?  Was it not your intent to appoint Dr. Phares last month?  Why did you bother to play to the delegations assembled at the last meeting to just turn around a month later and do what you planned on doing then? 

Just what is so magical about Dr. Phares?  Nothing against Dr. Phares, but if your desire is to find the most qualified applicant, why wouldn’t you want to search and select from a panel of applicants rather than just look at one applicant?

If you feel the need to hire a superintendent while the search for a qualified applicant is conducted, there are a number of excellent local superintendents in this state who could fill in temporarily.  Why is no one else being mentioned or allowed an 18 month audition for the job?

When I spoke to you at the re-firing of Dr. Marple, I stated that we all needed to move forward and a national search was the only way this board could put the events of November behind them.  Your obsession with appointing Dr. Phares only continues to put the focus on this board and its motives and not on the students of our state.

I hope all the questions I have been getting from reporters about this are false.  I hope you are moving forward with a national search today and we will have a new/permanent State Superintendent of Schools within a few months.

As I stated before, I look forward to working with a new state superintendent and moving education in our state forward.  Quite honestly until that happens; as far as the education employees and citizens of our state are concerned, you are simply playing politics.


WVEA President Dale Lee delivers WVEA's remarks at the State Board meeting today. 
(WVBE policy limits comments to 5 minutes)

I’m WVEA President Dale Lee and I am here this morning to address the Board regarding the termination of Superintendent Marple.

Let me begin by saying that I understand Dr. Marple was a will and pleasure employee of the Board and the board could terminate her at any time.  Your right to dismiss her is not the question.  Your motive and underhandedness are at the heart of the outrage by education employees and citizens of our state.

The way people handle situations tells a lot about them. The way this board dealt with the dismissal of Dr. Marple speaks volumes about board members both as a group and as individuals.  The unlawful, clandestine, despicable way the board handled her termination is now the legacy of this board.  It leaves a forever tarnished image about a group of people entrusted to guide public education in our state. 

Let’s review what has been released so far. Some of you clearly had discussions about Marple’s dismissal outside of the board meeting format.  Those discussions were limited to a few board members and most likely were held illegally.  You were told by counsel during the BOE meeting that you were in violation of the Open Meetings Law and each of the five choose to violate the law rather than to proceed correctly. You either didn’t care about the law or you believe you are above it.  

The only reason you are correcting your error now is the possibility of a lawsuit in which you are clearly going to be on the losing side. 

In addition to having discussions among your select few about the termination, it appears to the public that you have already chosen the successor and that you had those discussions with him weeks prior to the vote to dismiss Marple.  By the way, he just happens to be from Marion County and some board members just happen to have a prior relationship with him.  To the public, this certainly does not look like an attempt to hire the most qualified person but simply a typical WV “ good ole boy” arrangement.

A majority of the Board demanded a national search be conducted when the last vacancy occurred. Many of the same people now are not even willing to post the job and allow qualified applicants to apply.  To an outside observer, this says a deal has been cut and you aren’t really looking for the most qualified applicant.  You are simply looking for someone who will do exactly what you say without question.

The only reason you can give for the dismissal of Dr. Marple is that you are looking to go in another direction.  Mrs. Manchin has admitted that Dr. Marple has already implemented or is in the process of implementing many of the recommendations from the Audit.  Add to that, just a few months ago she received a good evaluation and a salary increase from the Board.  What changed?

I understand each of  you have had success in life.  And because of that you believe you have the answers for how to fix our public schools.  Armed with your knowledge and a copy of the Audit recommendations you are now set to go forth and change the world.  Ahha, if it was only that easy!

Schools aren’t businesses and kids aren’t made in factories.  Dr. Marple understood that.  She was a teacher and an administrator.  She has turned around low performing schools and written books on “systemic change in our schools”. She is a nationally recognized educator with tons of classroom and real life experience in our public schools. Can any of you make that same claim? 

I have read where some of you say she was resistant to making change. Based upon my dealings with Dr. Marple, nothing could be further from the truth. She embraced change and was implementing change in our schools. 
But unlike many who have never been in a classroom, she understood that change simply for the sake of change does not improve student achievement. Dr. Marple’s vision and her direction for the Department were to improve student learning and allow teachers to teach.  Based on that, your decision to head in another direction is puzzling.

Today’s board meeting is really irrelevant in the conversation. This is not about Dr. Marple coming back but where to go from here.

Make no mistake; WVEA is willing to work with this board, as we always have, as we go forward with the goal of improving our schools.  Public and employee trust is paramount for creating a world class school system. 

You can begin to recapture some of that trust by at least taking applicants for the position of our next superintendent of schools.  Anointing someone only keeps the questions surrounding the motive of the Board’s action at the forefront of any discussion about public education.

Let’s have a search to find the most qualified applicant to lead our public schools, just as we did when Dr. Marple was chosen.  Once that happens, maybe public education becomes the issue and not the motives and actions of this Board of Education.

E-Mails for State BOE members

We have had many requests for the email address of the members of the State Board of Education.  They are listed below. 

The Five Votes in favor of Marple dismissal -

Those who voted against the dismissal.  Urge Ms. Phillips and Ms. Haden to reconsider their decision to resign from the BOE. 


Thanks to all who attended the vigil last night.  Great attendance!


Charleston Gazette

updated 11/19

WVEA to hold Candlelight Vigil for Dr. Marple

WVEA members and others will be displaying their displeasure with the recent actions of the State Board of Education by holding a candlelight vigil on Tuesday, November 20th at 5:30 pm in front of WVEA Headquarters on Quarrier Street.
Others who are upset with the deplorable way Dr. Marple was dismissed are welcome to participate.  If you would like to join in the vigil, meet us at WVEA Headquarters, 1558 Quarrier Street, Charleston at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20th
Your participation will  show support for Dr. Marple and your disdain for the way she was let go. Sorry for the short notice but the State Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to select her replacement.
WHAT:                        Candlelight Vigil for Dr. Marple
WHEN:                       Tuesday, November 20th at 5:30 pm
WHERE:                     WVEA Headquarters
                                    1558 Quarrier Street
                                    Charleston, WV

WVEA Statement of the firing of Superintendent Marple
WVEA President Dale Lee has issued the following comments regarding the termination of State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jorea Marple. 
WVEA is appalled at the actions of the Manchin appointees on the State Board of Education. Dr. Jorea Marple has done a great job during her short term as state superintendent of schools. She has led by example. Her actions have always been guided by what is best for children.
Dr. Marple is widely respected by her peers and is highly regarded by the education employees of our state. The actions of the BOE appear to be politically motivated and that is a shame. At a time when we are trying to work together and move our state’s education system forward, we have taken a step back.

I am extremely disappointed in the BOE.  The Manchin appointees clearly have an agenda of their own and it is not necessarily in the best interest of students.
A lifelong educator, who is acknowledged by her peers, has been let go by a group of people who have little if any knowledge about teaching or public education. I understand why the public has lost faith in public education.
The actions of this board are disgraceful.

UPDATE - 5pm

New Superintendent Named

The state Board of Education has hired a new state School Superintendent completing a whirlwind day that began with the firing of Superintendent Dr. Jorea Marple.
State Board President Wade Linger released the following statement late Thursday:
The West Virginia Board of Education has appointed Deputy State Superintendent Chuck Heinlein as the new state superintendent of schools until the board is able to hire a longer-term individual to serve in that position.

State law does not allow the position to remain vacant.

Board President Wade Linger has indicated that at a special meeting called for Wed. Nov. 21 he will recommend the board hire Dr. James Phares to fill the position. Phares is currently the superintendent of Randolph County Schools.