State Board of Education member ‘appalled’ - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

State Board of Education member ‘appalled’ at ‘lack of transparency’

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • West Virginia University Children's Hospital Breaks Ground on New Expansion

    West Virginia University Children's Hospital Breaks Ground on New Expansion

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-09-16 04:00:32 GMT
    Monday marked the new beginning for the West Virginia University Children's Hospital. The hospital is expanding its walls to meet the growing needs of the community.
    Monday marked the new beginning for the West Virginia University Children's Hospital. The hospital is expanding its walls to meet the growing needs of the community.
  • Marion County Residents Gather To Meet The Candidates

    Marion County Residents Gather To Meet The Candidates

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:45:34 GMT
    Meet The Candidate ForumMeet The Candidate Forum
    Marion County residents were able to meet the candidates Monday night and get to hear from Fairmont City Council.
    Marion County residents were able to meet the candidates Monday night and get to hear from Fairmont City Council.
  • WVU Students Honor Slain Journalists With Vigil

    WVU Students Honor Slain Journalists With Vigil

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:40 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:40:26 GMT
    The militant group ISIS has beheaded four Western hostages, two from the United States and two from Britain. Monday night, WVU's Muslim Association held a vigil for one of the murdered American journalist.
    The militant group ISIS has beheaded four Western hostages, two from the United States and two from Britain. Monday night, WVU's Muslim Association held a vigil for one of the murdered American journalist.
  • EducationMore>>

  • Marshall University pilots ‘global' medical program

    Marshall University pilots ‘global' medical program

    Monday, September 15 2014 3:41 PM EDT2014-09-15 19:41:58 GMT
    With the start of a new program at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine comes the beginning of a new “global” medical emphasis.
    With the start of a new program at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine comes the beginning of a new “global” medical emphasis.
  • WLU offers new masters degree

    WLU offers new masters degree

    Sunday, September 14 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-09-14 18:00:14 GMT
    At West Liberty University, planning makes perfect — three years, to be exact in this case. After planning and perfecting the curriculum, a master of professional studies degree is now available at WLU.
    At West Liberty University, planning makes perfect — three years, to be exact in this case. After planning and perfecting the curriculum, a master of professional studies degree is now available at WLU.

  • Charles Town teacher to build school

    Charles Town teacher to build school

    Saturday, September 13 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-09-13 12:00:13 GMT
    Nancy SturmNancy Sturm
    Charles Town resident Nancy Sturm has devoted her life to learning.
    Charles Town resident Nancy Sturm has devoted her life to learning.

A State Board of Education member who resigned in reaction to the firing of state Superintendent Jorea Marple said the public may never know the reasons behind the abrupt termination.

Marple was hired as the state superintendent of schools in 2011 and her employment status was not an item on the board's agenda for its November meeting.

However, during the board's Nov. 15 meeting, members went into executive session, came out and voted to fire Marple. 

Two board members — Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden — resigned in reaction to Marple's firing. Their resignations are effective as of Dec. 31.

Haden, who has served 11 years on the board, said board members are ethically bound not to discuss what was said in executive session. However, she did say she felt blind sided by Marple's firing.

"I'm appalled at the lack of transparency that accompanied that," Haden told The State Journal and WOWK on Nov. 16, noting there are some legal ethics questions involved. "We had no idea why we were going in, and on the agenda it said it was for another purpose."

"I was in shock," she later added. "I was in shock when we came out of the meeting."

 Haden said she was not part of the conversation to fire Marple.

"I was completely taken aback. I think that obviously the audit and the appointment of the new superintendent and asking of the resignation of Marple had to be decided by some people," she said.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Nov. 15, state Board of Education President L. Wade Linger Jr. announced the appointment of Deputy State Superintendent Chuck Heinlein as a temporary state superintendent.

The board also announced that at a special meeting Nov. 21, Linger would recommend the hiring of James Phares, the Randolph County superintendent, to fill the vacancy.

"There was a lack of transparency as to this issue of when this man was chosen and who chose him," Haden said. "This is a serious question, however, that has been added to the agenda for next Wednesday's meeting."

Because Marple is an at-will employee, the state Board of Education is not required to give a reason for her termination.

However in a statement prepared after the meeting, Linger  said, "Dr. Marple's concern for and commitment to West Virginia's schoolchildren is well known. She has served them with distinction, and we appreciate her public service. However, the West Virginia Board of Education believes this is a time for a change in direction. As such, we think it is important for new leadership."

Haden said she is not concerned about finishing the next month of her service.

"I'm old enough to have been around a long time," she said. "Sometimes this is the nature of the game when you have a change in your boards and people have other business. It's necessary to move forward. I understand that. I don't approve of the lack of transparency of that process."

Mentioning a June educational evaluation where Marple received an "excellent" rating, Haden said she thinks Marple was a great superintendent.

"I would just like to take the opportunity at this time to say what an outstanding superintendent Dr. Marple is — was," Haden said. "There were several things in the audit that she immediately reacted to such as downsizing the department and initiatives that had been taking place over the state. I also know most of the superintendents were so pleased with her work as were teachers in our state."