After only nine minutes in executive session, members of the Randolph County Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint Terry George interim superintendent of Randolph County Schools at a special meeting Wednesday.
George will fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Dr. James Phares, which is effective Dec. 30. The West Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously Dec. 12 to make Phares the state superintendent of schools while a national search to find a long-term state superintendent is undertaken. Phares will begin his job as the state schools' chief on Jan. 2.
Six candidates for Randolph's interim superintendent position were interviewed by board members on Dec. 18.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Randolph County Board of Education members Lisa Wamsley, David Kesling and Bruce Haddix, above, voice their ‘yeas’ Wednesday as the members vote unanimously to appoint Terry George as interim superintendent. George will serve in this position beginning Jan. 1, following the resignation of Dr. James Phares.
"All candidates interviewed possessed excellent leadership qualities and at this time, the board of education has agreed to appoint Terry George as interim superintendent from Jan. 1 to June 30," said Lisa Wamsley, president of the board. "He has served the board of education as interim superintendent prior to the hiring of Dr. Phares."
In February 2009, George, who has served as the county's assistant superintendent for secondary schools, was named interim superintendent following the retirement of former superintendent Sue Hinzman.
"We had some great candidates," said board member Harvey Taylor. "It was hard to choose, but Mr. George will do a great job. We want to keep going forward as we have been and he will help us do so."
Wamsley said Howard O'Cull, executive director of the West Virginia State School Board Association, has tentatively scheduled a meeting with the Randolph BOE for Jan. 16 regarding hiring a permanent superintendent.
"The date is dependent on the weather," Wamsley said. "We have until June 30 to select a permanent superintendent, but hopefully, it will not take that long."
George told The Inter-Mountain he is honored to be considered and selected to serve the students and staff of Randolph County schools.
"I look forward to continuing the work on the goals set by the board," George said. "We have three goals: to enhance student achievement, to enhance community connections and to enhance system efficiency. I feel it is my job to continue to lead the staff to the completion of these goals."
George said in light of the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School that he feels the schools in Randolph County possess a very effective means of security.
"Every school has a system of locked doors, and all visitors are buzzed in through the door," George said. "The only exception is during warm weather where schools have no HVAC. We need to improve these HVAC systems to keep students safe."
George said the board currently has no plans to re-run a bond. A bond call for the county failed in the Nov. 6 general election.
"The 2014 election is the next election, and so far there has been no decision to run a bond," he said. "The decision to run a bond is a board decision. They may have to reevaluate plans and look at the long term facility needs. We need to look at future SBA funding, but again, that is a board decision."
George said he had no news about the status of Olivia Hudok. She was banned from attending Pickens School in September following her refusal to take vaccination boosters for religious reasons. Hudok is currently receiving home bound studies, and has asked the board to allow her to attend her senior prom and graduation.
"Our attorney is working with the court system regarding the Hudok case," George said. "It is in the hands of the attorney."
George said the first thing he will do as interim superintendent is meet with the staff.
"We will go over expectations from now until June 30," George said. "I will share plans with the principals, and our primary goal will be to continue working toward the goals established by the board."
George said he will continue to fulfill his role as assistant superintendent as well.
"I am happy to be in this role and will do the job to the best of my abilities," he said. "I appreciate everyone's confidence in me as we move forward."
Board member Ed Tyre, who was in Florida Wednesday, cast his vote by speaker phone.