State Board Member Completes Nine Year Term

October 12, 2005

Sandra ChapmanCharleston, W.Va. – After dedicating nine years to the students of West Virginia, today Sandra Chapman completed her term as a member of the West Virginia Board of Education. Chapman, an Ohio County attorney and mother of three, was appointed by former Governor Gaston Caperton in 1996.  

Education in West Virginia has gone through a revolution during Chapman’s term that has catapulted the state to the lead position in nearly all educational categories. For example, state ACT and SAT scores have continuously improved, the achievement gap continues to narrow, and graduation rates continue to increase.  

Bullying and harassment prevention in schools topped Chapman’s agenda. As Board president, Chapman led the Board of Education in an intensive dialogue about how to curb bullying in schools, and foster a nurturing, orderly, safe and stimulating educational environment for students.  

After providing county school systems with a model anti-bullying policy to adopt locally, the state Board tackled the issue even further by developing student and employee codes of conduct that clearly define behaviors that are unacceptable, as well as appropriate responses to violations of these codes.  

“In every decision Ms. Chapman has made as a State Board member, she has always had the best interest of the children at heart,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Because of her compassion, schools will continue to be a safe haven for children.”  

One of the most pivotal issues was resolved during Chapman’s time on the State Board. The nearly 25-year old case, Tomblin v. Gainer, better known as the Recht Decision, finally came to a close in January 2003 when Judge Arthur Recht ruled that all West Virginia schools were receiving fair and equitable funding. The lawsuit, filed in 1975, alleged that the state school funding system was inequitable.  

A major change that has affected all states is the federal No Child Left Behind Act. West Virginia Achieves, the state’s local accountability plan, received recognition from then U.S. Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige and was ninth in the nation to be approved.  

“It has been through Ms. Chapman’s expertise and diligence that West Virginia is reaping the fruits of success,” said State Board President Lowell Johnson. “I know that she will continue to be a voice for the students in the state and a pillar in the education community.” Chapman was born and raised in Rising Sun, Indiana. She graduated magna cum laude from Hanover College in 1977 where she earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology and Cross-Cultural Studies. In 1979, Ms. Chapman received her master's degree in health education from West Virginia University. Upon receipt of her master's degree, she enrolled in law school at the West Virginia University College of Law, where she earned her doctorate of jurisprudence in 1983. Chapman held all offices throughout her term. She was elected secretary in 2000 and then moved into the vice-president’s seat that same year. She was elected vice president for a second time in 2002. She was elected to the post of president in 2001 and again in 2003.  

She is married to Patrick S. Casey and they have three children, Ethan, Liam and Veronica.

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