WV Board of Education Hires Dr. Phares as Superintendent - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WV Board of Education Hires Dr. Phares as Superintendent

Courtesy of: Randolph County BOE Courtesy of: Randolph County BOE

The West Virginia Board of Education voted to hire Dr. James Phares as West Virginia's new superintendent of schools.

The board chose the Randolph County school chief on Wednesday over Kathy D'Antoni, a state assistant superintendent.

"I am optimistic about the future of education in West Virginia and welcome this opportunity to give back to my home state," said Phares. "I look forward to working with students, parents, educators, administrators, higher education, all branches of government, business and the community to make the great strides necessary to transform our school system for the benefit of all students. Together, we can improve the academic opportunities of all West Virginia children."

However, the length of Phares' tenure is unclear. The board agreed to conduct a national search for a long-term superintendent. That plan calls on the legislature to revisit the job's qualifications and duties.

Phares fielded questions ahead of the vote on topics such as spending, leadership and the much-discussed audit of West Virginia's education system.

"This is an important position for the children of West Virginia," said board president Wade Linger, in a news release. "The West Virginia Board of Education is confident Dr. Phares will provide the necessary leadership our public schools need as we move forward with education reforms that advance student achievement and the well-being of our students."

The board also interviewed D'Antoni Wednesday but behind closed doors.

The board abruptly fired Jorea Marple as superintendent last month. A pending Supreme Court petition challenges her dismissal.

Phares will take over from Charles Heinlein, a deputy superintendent.

Heinlein took over when the board fired Jorea Marple.

Phares will begin his new post on January 2.

He said his educational experience over the years is an opportunity to once again give back to his home state.

"I have a understanding and a variation of that works from the classroom, being a principal from being a superintendent in a very rural county like Pocahontas, and Randolph as well as a larger county like Marion County there's certain dynamics in play in all of those that have to be addressed," Phares said.

Phares will ask the Randolph County Board of Education to approve his resignation on Monday. His last day will be December 31.