County School Boards Provided Professional Development to Lead Local Education Improvement

October 10, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.VA.- The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) is looking to county boards to lead student achievement through data driven decision making and innovative policy setting.  During its monthly meeting in Charleston, board members participated in a presentation by the West Virginia School Boards Association (WVSBA).  Howard O’Cull, executive director of the WVSBA, shared with the state board the progress being made as part of a series of trainings called the Leadership Capacity Development Model. The model provides a foundational focus on the development of more effective county board leadership. 

The WVSBA, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), Marshall University and West Virginia University are leading the work related to the Leadership Capacity Development Model.

The work of the WVSBA is one of several initiatives being conducted throughout the state to strengthen educational leadership among teachers, school administrators and county board members. During the 2013 Legislative Session, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin challenged the state board to begin reimagining educator professional development in the state. The WVBE and the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) are collaborating with Imagine West Virginia, an independent research and development group, to provide information and best practices on educator leadership preparation and licensure models. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) staff is also researching leadership literature and best practice for educator professional development. Finally, the Center for Professional Development is conducting training sessions for instructors on leadership and decision making based on data.

“Researchers, studies and just common sense point to the important role county board members play in molding a system which first and foremost serves our students,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin. “It is encouraging to hear the enthusiasm shared by county board members and their recommitment to providing meaningful leadership.”

As part of the WVSBA training, county board members are discussing leadership from the vantage of data-based decision making. In addition, county boards are asking themselves whether they have the right structures in place – monitoring, reporting and oversight – to address issues such as student achievement, fiscal concerns and, most of all, leadership that will advance the system.

“Too often I hear from county board members that they have no control,” said O’Cull. “That is not the case. What we must do is to fully develop leadership capacity and capability of every local board member. Imagine what can be if boards work to make the best, most informed decisions and spend time analyzing system progress. Meeting agendas will change; meeting discussions will shift and boards will discover an array of issues for which they are responsible and for which they can have impact.”

For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro at the WVDE Communication Office at (304) 558- 2699.  


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