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State superintendent search may wait for state law change

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Right now, West Virginia statute requires the state superintendent of schools to have previously served as a county superintendent within the state.

So last week, when West Virginia Board of Education President Wade Linger said the search for a replacement to the abruptly and twice-fired Jorea Marple would be nationwide, a few people took notice.

"I think that's one of the things the Legislature will probably be looking at, is being able to remove some of those barriers that's been up there and to do a true, nationwide search for a new superintendent of schools, and that's not saying that the person couldn't come from West Virginia, but to give more flexibility," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said recently on "The State Journal's Decision Makers," a statewide, weekend public affairs program.

"I would be willing to give the Legislature the opportunity to change the qualifications if they see fit to do that and do a true, national search."

West Virginia Department of Education Spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said the board would need to approach the Legislature if they wanted to change the job description, which is in state code.

"We will know more about the search and timelines after the December board meeting," Cordeiro said.

The board is scheduled to meet Dec. 12-13.