“It’s vitally important that members of the State Board receive input from educators when making changes which impact the profession,” explained State Board President J. D. Morris. “It’s equally important that employees have a peer group of educators to appeal to when questions arise about certification, licensure and preparation requirements. The Commission was also developed to ensure that West Virginia is able to provide students with outstanding educators, to establish high and rigorous standards for entrance to and retention in the profession, and to encourage a unified system of professional development.”
Policy 5050, adopted by the West Virginia Board of Education in 1997, created the Commission.
“We’re a 19-person panel consisting of classroom teachers, principals, county and State Board members, county superintendents, higher education representatives and a business representative to advise the State Board and to recommend changes in policies dealing with the teaching profession,” said Dale Lee, chairperson of the West Virginia Commission for Professional Teaching Standards. “We also serve as an appeals board for educators having difficulties with licensure and certification requirements.”
According to Lee, the Commission began work reacting to problems, but soon realized that it must take a more proactive approach in order to be more effective.
“We had such a backlog of cases, appeals and issues to address that we played ‘catch up’ the first couple of years,” he noted. “Now, with most of the original 19 members still on the Commission, we have been able to shift our focus to addressing areas of concern before they become major problems. The Commission has become a cohesive, experienced board with the common goal of improving an already outstanding system of education in West Virginia.”
Lee said that the impending teacher shortage is just one example of the Commission’s addressing an issue before it becomes a widespread problem.
“We will offer recommendations this legislative session that could possibly alleviate some of the problems that West Virginia and all states are certain to face in the coming years,” he said. “We want to make sure that West Virginia continues to attract and retain quality educators.”
Members of the Commission’s Steering Committee include: Lee, Mercer County teacher; Rosemary Anderson, Ohio County teacher; Kathy Butler, Glenville State College academic dean and vice president; William Fox, Greenbrier County principal; Patricia Harris, Alderson-Broaddus College associate professor; and Peter Dougherty, Jefferson County board member.
Persons wanting more information about the Commission should contact Phyllis Durden, West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 558-7826.