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UPDATED: W.Va. Board Prez Had Phares In Mind Before Firing Marple

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATED: 02/28/2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Emails between the president of the state Board of Education and acting superintendent of schools Jim Phares show the two men were communicating about the possible replacement of then-Superintendent Jorea Marple for two months before she was fired.

The Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail obtained emails dating to September under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Board President Wade Linger says he asked first Phares for a biography because he was aware of his credentials. But he says the idea of replacing Marple goes further back, to the review of a March 2012 education-efficiency audit.

Marple was fired Nov. 15, five months after a positive performance review. Her attorneys say she will sue.

The parents of a student have also sued, arguing the board broke open-meeting laws.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 01/04/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Former state schools superintendent Jorea Marple tells the state Board of Education in a letter that it should either reinstate her or present evidence of something she did that warranted her abrupt termination in November.

The letter was sent Thursday, a day after four prominent attorneys notified the state Department of Education that Marple planned to sue over her firing. Thursday's letter clarified that she planned to sue the school board. The notification is required when suing a state entity.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that Marple's latest letter demands her job back, a formal finding by the board that it fired her inappropriately and an undisclosed amount of money for wrongful termination.

An education department official has said it would be inappropriate to comment before seeing any litigation.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE:01/02/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A longtime educator recently fired as West Virginia's state schools superintendent plans to sue over her dismissal.

Lawyers for Jorea Marple notified the state Department of Education of the pending lawsuit on Wednesday.

The state Board of Education abruptly voted to fire Marple in November, less than two years after unanimously selecting her for the job. Marple's lawyers say her termination was illegal.

The letter provides the 30-day advance notice required by law before a state agency can be sued in most instances. The department declined immediate comment.

Two Boone County parents earlier petitioned the Supreme Court to challenge the firing. That filing alleges the board violated the state open meetings law. That case is pending.

James Phares is Marple's successor as superintendent. He took his oath on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 01/02/2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia latest state schools superintendent is on the job.

Jim Phares took his oath Wednesday at the state Capitol to become the 28th occupant of that post.

The former county schools chief pledged to develop an action plan by day's end for his first month in office.

The state Board of Education hired Phares last month to succeed Jorea Marple. The board fired Marple in November, less than two years into the job. Phares' tenure is unclear, as the board also plans to search nationally for a longer-term superintendent.

Phares vowed Wednesday to work to heal wounds at the Department of Education. Besides Marple's sudden ouster, the department has come under fire following an audit that found West Virginia's public schools bogged down by bureaucracy and inflexible education laws.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 12/28/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Two West Virginia Board of Education members have followed through on their vows to resign over the firing of the state schools superintendent.

Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden dissented when the board voted last month to dismiss Jorea Marple as schools superintendent.

Other board members have cited a desire to change direction. The board had unanimously selected Marple for that job in February 2011.

Each resigned in letters sent Thursday to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Phillips wrote that the board displayed a lack of caring or consideration. She also called the firing an illegal action. A pending court challenge alleges the board violated the state open meetings law.

Haden said she abhors the handling of Marple's firing. Her term was to expire next year, and Phillips' term in 2016.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 12/27/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's new schools superintendent will be sworn in next week.

The swearing-in ceremony for James Phares will be held Jan. 2 in the West Virginia Board of Education Room at Building 6 at the Capitol Complex.

Phares will replace Chuck Heinlein, a deputy superintendent who was asked to fill in after the board fired Jorea Marple in November.

Phares will become West Virginia's 28th superintendent. He formerly served as Randolph County's superintendent.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 12/12/2012

HAMLIN, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's Board of Education wants to search nationally for a state schools superintendent, but will consider two candidates for the post in the meantime.

The board approved a hiring plan Wednesday that also asks the Legislature to revisit the job's description and qualifications.

Meeting at Lincoln County High School, board members nominated assistant state superintendent Kathy D'Antoni and Randolph County schools chief James Phares for the top state post.

The board is looking for a superintendent after abruptly firing Jorea Marple last month. The board says it wants a change in direction given the chronically lagging student performance. But supporters have defended Marple's tenure. A pending court challenge alleges the firing violated the state open meetings law.

That court case is also on Wednesday's agenda.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATED: 11/29/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's Board of Education has affirmed its firing of Jorea Marple as state schools superintendent.

The board voted 6-2 Thursday after public comment sharply critical of Marple's ouster. Nineteen people stood to praise Marple, denounce her firing or call for her reinstatement.

Thursday's vote followed a 90-minute closed door session by the board. Member Lloyd Jackson joined the five who had voted to fire Marple at a Nov. 15 meeting.

Concerns about whether the board had earlier followed the state open meetings law prompted Thursday's discussion. A pending legal challenge asks the Supreme Court to void Marple's firing under the open meetings law.

Thursday's meeting agenda also includes the hiring of a new superintendent. Board President Wade Linger has endorsed Randolph County schools chief James Phares for the job.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

UPDATE: 11/20/2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - At least one West Virginia Board of Education member says the need to change the public school system's culture led to the firing of its superintendent.

Gayle Manchin says personalities and politics played no role in her vote last week to dismiss Jorea Marple.

Manchin on Tuesday instead said that she wants the board to send a strong signal to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the Legislature that it embraces the recent audit of the state education system.

That wide-ranging review described West Virginia's system as highly regulated and heavy with bureaucrats.

The board meets Wednesday to respond to the audit. It has delayed hiring a new superintendent until next week. But Manchin said she wants to revisit the job's duties before the search for a permanent successor to Marple.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Board of Education is delaying a decision on hiring a new schools superintendent so it can focus on an audit of the public school system.

The board plans to hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the audit. The superintendent issue was added to the agenda after board members fired former Schools Superintendent Jorea Marple last week.

Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro tells media outlets that board members want to focus on their response to the audit.

The wide-ranging audit describes a low-performing education system rigidly controlled by a state-level bureaucracy and a stack of policy-directing laws. It lists more than 100 recommendations.

The West Virginia Education Association plans to hold a vigil Tuesday night in Charleston to show support for Marple.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


ORIGINAL STORY

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Schools Superintendent Jorea Marple has been fired.

Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro says the state Board of Education voted 5-2 on Thursday to terminate Marple's contract.

Cordeiro says board members Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden opposed the move. They announced they will resign from the board, effective Dec. 31.

Marple says she was surprised by the decision. She says she had received only encouragement.

Marple says she hopes to continue to be an advocate for children and teachers.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee says he's appalled by Marple's firing and the way it was handled, without warning. He says students, teachers and service personnel are losing a strong advocate.

Marple had served as the state's schools chief since March 1, 2011.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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