Mr. Morris had been a member of the West Virginia Board of Education since May 1979, serving longer than any current member of the Board. Known as the “Dean of the State Board,” he served as the Board’s president for two terms, vice president for three terms and secretary for one term.
Throughout his more than 25 years of Board service, the students’ best interest always remained a priority with Mr. Morris. He proved to be a loyal and dependable member of the West Virginia Board of Education. All members of the Board looked to him for guidance and input and respected his thoughtful explanations of matters.
“Mr. Morris was a true champion of education. He always demonstrated diplomacy and fairness on all issues that have been presented to the State Board of Education,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “He was a true gentleman who is sorely missed.”
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Mr. Morris was a graduate of Garnet High School. He continued his education at Central State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He went on to earn a master’s degree in industrial relations from West Virginia University.
Mr. Morris was the recipient of the 2004 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Boards of Education. He also received the first-ever Character Educator of the Year Award. As an additional honor, the State Board named the award after him and it is now known as the Paul J. Morris Character Educator of the Year Award.
“Mr. Morris left an indelible mark on education in West Virginia,” said State Board President Lowell Johnson. “This tree will be a symbol of his contribution to the education community.”
The flowering crabapple tree was selected for its spring bloom of beautiful colors and bright foliage in autumn. It is located on the fountain side of Building 6 of the Capitol Complex.