"This improvement consultant team will make recommendations to the State Board at the November 4 regular meeting," explained State Superintendent Dr. Henry Marockie. "These recommendations will provide the Lincoln County School Board and the State Board with valuable input and detailed recommendations on how this system can be improved."
At an October 8 meeting, the West Virginia Board of Education declared a state of emergency in Lincoln County schools after receiving an in-depth report from the Office of Education Performance Audits.
"The on-site review team which visited Lincoln County in late September cited 213 deficiencies in numerous areas, including hiring practices, teacher certification, curriculum offered to students, instruction, and even the cleanliness of the facilities," Dr. Marockie explained. "These deficiencies directly impact Lincoln County's ability to deliver a quality education to its students." On October 8, the State Board voted unanimously that: 1) extraordinary circumstances exist in Lincoln County, 2) the school system be granted non approval status, 3) a state of emergency exists in Lincoln County schools, and 4) the State Board would schedule a meeting with the Lincoln County School Board for Friday, October 15, to discuss the findings from the on-site audit. The Board also agreed to appoint, as required by law, an improvement consultant team.
According to Dr. Marockie, members appointed to the improvement consultant team include: chair Carroll Staats, a retired Jackson County superintendent; Bob Harris, director of school improvement-public relations, Wood County; Steve McBride, executive director-instructional materials, West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE); Wayne Clutter, executive director, school transportation/facilities, WVDE; Phyllis Barnhart, executive director, Project CATS, WVDE; Dave Stewart, assistant superintendent, WVDE; Debbie Brown, executive director, instruction, WVDE; Kim Chapman, assistant director, certification, WVDE; Charles Heinlein, principal, St. Mary's High School; Barbara Jones, assistant superintendent, WVDE; Delores Ranson, assistant superintendent, Jackson County; Betty Jo Jordan, executive director, program services, WVDE; and Bill Carman, principal, Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
"This issue – the education of young people in Lincoln County – is too important to waste precious time," said State Board President Cleo P. Mathews. "We expect Lincoln County to make immediate and significant improvements in its school system."