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State school board seeks input from educators in superintendent search

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By Jennifer Smith 
WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Board of Education wants to know what teachers, administrators, service personnel and PTAs would like to see when it comes the characteristics of a new state superintendent of schools.

Dr. Jim Phares announced earlier this month that he will retire June 30. The state school board’s goal is to find his replacement in a short time. That means getting input from everyone.

On Thursday, the board sent out a questionnaire to thousands of education-related personnel to find what they’d want to see in a new superintendent.

“It’s actually a list of qualities and characteristics and I think there’s 33 characteristics listed and you pick the 10 that you feel are the most important,” explained Board of Education President Gayle Manchin.

Iowa-based Ray and Associates is the search firm the state board hired to help it and already board members and key government officials, like Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and legislative leaders, have sat down for a one-on-one talk with the firm about what they want to see.

Manchin said this puts them on a tight but doable timeline to make their next hire.

“By the first of June we should be looking at a list of finalists and also be finalizing the questions that would go to the candidates,” the board president said.

The board has also received word that two former governors would like to help in any way they can find the perfect fit for the job. Gaston Caperton, the former president of the College Board, and Bob Wise, the president of the Alliance for Excellence in Education, both said they will act in an advisory capacity.

Phares has said he would be willing to stay on as superintendent until the board can find his replacement. Manchin is confident the board can make their selection by June 30.