CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday named Deputy State Superintendent Jorea Marple as the new state superintendent. Marple, one of three finalists interviewed by the board, brings nearly 40 years of educational experience to the position. She will replace John T. “Ted” Mattern, who took over as state superintendent on Jan. 4 after Steve Paine retired. Mattern, a former county superintendent and former member of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, will step down effective Feb. 28, 2011.
“I am humbled, excited and passionate about the opportunity to work with our students, parents, teachers, school administrators, higher education and community leaders because we all have a role in this process of developing great kids who do great work,” Marple said.
As superintendent, Marple will earn $165,000 per year. On March 1, she will assume all the duties, responsibilities and authority granted to the state’s top education leader and serves at the will and pleasure of the board as its policy advisor and executive officer. West Virginia's public school system includes 55 individual school districts, serving about 282,000 students in grades Pre-k-12. Marple is the first female state superintendent ever named in West Virginia.
“We had the opportunity to interview three very strong candidates,” Board President Priscilla Haden said. “However, it was evident to us that Marple was the best fit for the future of our state. I am pleased at how well the board worked together, ultimately leading to a unanimous decision.”
Marple, who has a doctorate in education administration from West Virginia University, has experience as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, university instructor, principal, assistant county superintendent, county superintendent, assistant state superintendent and deputy state superintendent. She earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education at Fairmont State in 1969 and a master of arts in reading from WVU. She also is a published author on effective school leadership. Marple has experience in West Virginia schools in Marion, Monongalia, Greenbrier and Kanawha counties.
As a principal at Tiskelwah Elementary School in Kanawha County, she helped students significantly improve their standardized test scores, which earned Tiskelwah a National Blue Ribbon School distinction. In her application, Marple cited evidence of her work experience and education as they relate to each of the state Board of Education's 13 "essential criteria" for state superintendent of schools.
In large part, she highlights several years of experience in helping to create the state's 21st century skills program, "Global 21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.” The effort, led by former superintendent Paine, has garnered West Virginia national and international attention for its bold reforms. The plan has increased rigor and relevance and incorporated real-world learning and performance skills, such as problem solving and creative thinking, into the state content standards and objectives.
"Although much has been accomplished, this initiative is at a pivotal point, just beginning to reap benefits," Marple said. "Without appropriate leadership, knowledge and skill, progress could be diminished."
Marple also has been involved in the state Department of Education’s work with pre-K programs, school technology implementation, school leadership development programs, reading initiatives and teacher quality efforts.
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.