By Jim Sannes and Lauren Talotta
Harrison County Board of Education President Mike Queen announced Friday that he has resigned from his position as president and member of the board so that he is seeking election in the State Senate as a Republican.
"Being a school board member is the toughest job that I ever loved. I did it for the students. In 2006, I asked the voters for two terms. That's eight years. The voters elected me with large majorities in both elections. I knew I had to keep my word and not run for a third term on the school board," Queen said.
Queen will be running for the 12th Senatorial District position which Sam Cann, a Democrat, currently holds.
Queen took office on July 1, 2006, and was nearing the end of his second term on the board.
The announcement comes just three days after the board voted not to renew the contract of superintendent Susan Collins. The vote was 4-1 in favor of not renewing with Doug Hogue being the lone vote for Collins.
Queen had previously announced that he would not seek a third term on the board.
"I'm not a stranger to education. I know how beneficial public education can be for students, for communities, for economic development and for our future. It's time we had a State Senator willing to stand up to the State Department of Education and hold them accountable for maintaining a public school system that prepares students for the real world. We need 100% of our students to be 'career ready' by the time they graduate from high school. Some will go on to college. Most will not. It's time for public education to focus on preparing students for the opportunities that West Virginia has available and for the opportunities that may become available in the near future," Queen said.
David Sturm will be taking over as president. Allen Gorrell is vice president.
On Saturday afternoon, he formally announced his candidacy by welcoming the public for an open house. Queen said education is a priority for him.
"Over the last eight years on the school board, I've developed a passion for education as a parent and a community leader. It really opened my eyes. I think there's a lot of work that needs to be done at the state level," said Queen.
Several local Republicans were in attendance to support Queen, including Del. Danny Hamrick and Margaret Bailey of the Clarksburg City Council.