- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Some educators don’t have a problem with the West Virginia Board of Education conducting a national search for a new schools superintendent. They suggest viable candidates can be found within the state’s borders.

Doddridge County Schools Superintendent Rick Coffman told The Exponent Telegram (http://bit.ly/1nNt9ce) that a wish list for any candidate must include a strong educational background, an extensive resume and a high level of integrity. He said a West Virginian would know best how to run the state’s school system.

“They would know our circumstances, our culture and our education system,” he said.

Current state schools chief James Phares is retiring on June 30 at age 61 after serving in the position for 18 months. The state board announced April 1 it had hired an Iowa firm to conduct a national search for Phares‘ replacement.

Mark Manchin, who will take over as Harrison County’s schools superintendent on July 1 after serving as the state School Building Authority’s executive director, said someone from West Virginia will likely be a good fit for the job.

“We have outstanding leaders from all over the state,” Manchin said. “I think your first look should be here.

“If they come back and say they haven’t been able to find anyone here, I certainly would have no problem with them talking to somebody from outside.”

Phares was Randolph County’s school superintendent when the state board hand-picked him for the state superintendent’s job.

His predecessor, Jorea Marple, who was fired in November 2012, was a deputy state superintendent when she was chosen for the superintendent’s post in 2011. The other finalists in 2011 were Manchin and then-West Virginia University Board of Governors Chairman Carolyn Long, who is now the top administrator at the WVU Institute of Technology in Montgomery.

Barbour County Schools Superintendent Joe Super and Robert C. Byrd High School English and theater teacher Emily Moore said someone with a business-model background wouldn’t be an ideal candidate.

“It should be someone who’s actually been in the classroom as a teacher,” Moore said. “Oftentimes, we think of education as a business, and it’s not.”

The state board has set a May 26 deadline for applications.

The superintendent’s job description seeks candidates “with successful professional experience and a proven record of managing effective education reform, or comparable leadership initiatives.

The description said the new superintendent will be paid about $225,000, which is subject to negotiation. The previous superintendents were paid $165,000.

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Information from: The Exponent Telegram, http://www.theet.com

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