“Suzette has done a fabulous job with Title I schools and with elementary schools in her current position and will bring this experience to the secondary level,” Paine said. “She is highly respected by the staff and will build on the successes that Mark Manchin started to keep McDowell County moving in the right direction.”
Cook, 52, is a former state Title I director for the West Virginia Department of Education and a teacher. She will take over July 1 from Interim Superintendent Jeff Nash, who plans to retire. Manchin resigned as superintendent last year when he was named director of the School Building Authority.
The West Virginia Board of Education intervened in McDowell County in 2001 after a review by the Office of Education Performance Audits found low test scores, shoddy school buildings and large numbers of uncertified teachers.
The board declared a state of emergency and immediately restricted the authority of the local board in the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional practices and rules, and then hired Manchin.
Under state guidance, McDowell County has made major changes in curriculum and personnel. New standards have been adopted for honor students, Advanced Placement classes have been added, a new auditorium was dedicated at Mount View Middle/High School and technology improvements continue.
The county is currently building a new high school and elementary school, both expected to open their doors by 2009. Plans also include intensive professional development to further enhance student performance.
“We’ve made great strides in McDowell County,” Cook said. “I welcome this opportunity to continue the good work going on to increase student achievement. I plan to keep my eye on the students. When you keep your eye on the students, you can’t go wrong.”
For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro, director of the Office of Communications, at (304) 558-2699.