CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Superintendent of School Dr. Jim Phares is retiring. He made the announcement Tuesday in a resignation letter he submitted to the state Board of Education.

Phares said he plans to retire on June 30 but will remain superintendent until his replacement has been named.

In his resignation letter, Phares said, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve the students, parents and teachers of the state of West Virginia in the capacity of State Superintendent of Schools. I will always cherish my opportunity to have done so.”

Phares officially took over the state’s top education position in January 2013. He stepped after former Superintendent Jorea Marple was fired from the job in November of 2012.

In his 40-year career, Phares served as superintendent in Pocahontas, Marion and Randolph Counties. He was also a teacher and coach in both West Virginia and Virginia.

Phares said in his resignation letter that “pressing family issues” are one reason he’s stepping down.

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  • Independent view

    "...Of course, they won't because it is easier to troll their hatred about the two associations and get in a classroom and walk in the shoes of a teacher in this state."
    "...And to all the haters of the ATF and WVEA, well, I wish they would either leave the state..."

    How about the shoe being on your other foot? if you feel like your expertise and contribution to WV's Education System is being ignored or unappreciated or you are not making enough money or your fringe benefits need enhanced then, stop your incessant whining and get a different job! Maybe as you suggest to others--in another state!
    Get a grip on reality, WV's education system is a failure. Administrators blame teachers, teachers blame administrators. Stop it already! Obviously, neither school adminstrators nor teachers nor their unions can neither solve or try to solve the problems. They are too busy pointing fingers at each other or lobbying or whining.

  • DWL

    Will the next UNION Puppet please step forward! They all have that Common Core disposition.

    • Joe Schmoe

      that would be Gayle Manchin

    • Hop'sHip

      What is common core and why should we not be disposed to it?

      • Aaron

        It's the new educational initiative that replaced no child left behind. I don't know that I've met anyone that likes it any more than they did NCLB.

  • Mister G!

    A good man tarred by association with clowns like Wade Linger ...

  • James

    There is something more to this story than family matters. But whatever it is, I am glad he has resigned. Now let's hope and pray that someone in Charleston has the brains to really conduct a search for a very qualified person.
    As for the "good ole boy network", that is the real problem in all areas of this state. There are people, for instance, on boards dealing with education who have no business, nor qualifications of being there. And to all the haters of the ATF and WVEA, well, I wish they would either leave the state, or better yet, apply with the correct credentials for a teaching job in this state. Of course, they won't because it is easier to troll their hatred about the two associations and get in a classroom and walk in the shoes of a teacher in this state

  • Independent View

    Ah, the inconsistency at the top. Maybe the reason is rats leaving a shinking ship? That's three state superintendents in a short time span; one resigned and is the new sup't of Harrison County, one fired and another resigns.
    This carousel, which dictates inconsistency is detrimental to WV's education system coupled with two teachers' unions that whine, whine, whine and threaten lawsuits would cause any professional to throw up their hands and say, I don't need this. And, when the only qualification for appointment to the state board of education is your husband is the governor or your cousin, the nepotism needs to stop!
    As to whether he took the job knowing he would be retiring in about a year--time will tell. He wouldn't be the first to use the good ole boy network to boost his retirement. The state police and conservation officers have been doing it for decades and I'm confident most other state agencies. Other examples are senators and delegates receiving state appointed administartive jobs at the highest levels.
    At some point, voters need to stand up and with their collective votes say, stop feeding at the public trough!

    • The bookman

      Mark Manchin was the SBA executive director, never State Superintendent. And yes, prior to Dr. Phares, Jorea Marples' stint was short lived. Prior to that were fairly long stays by David Stewart and Stephen Paine. We should have followed through on the National Search for a permanent replacement, but WV isn't an easy system, with such legislative control of education. Maybe the search didn't go well. Either way, they have to find one now!

  • Kelly

    Someone who doesn't support Common Core would be great!

    • Hop'sHip

      What is Common Core and why should we resist it?

  • Paul

    Our school system is a JOKE!

  • MickandAllysDad

    Wood county has an opening. Will the board in Parkersburg take a late resume?

  • Voter

    Retiring at a higher pay grade?

    • Brian

      Winner! That's the correct answer.

  • The bookman

    A fine person who will be missed. God bless and good luck, Dr Phares.

  • Aaron

    Seriously? After the drama surrounding firing the previous Superintendent and in hiring him.

    Somehow I get that there is way more to the story than simple pressing family needs.

    • Jason412

      Just an assumption, but "family needs" might have something to do with the controversial hiring of his son in Randolph Co.

      • The bookman

        Your assumption is the persistence of rumor put forward here by Stophating while grinding his axe, and is beneath you. You just hammered someone for facts and statistics on another thread, so unless you have something other than "I heard a story", maybe the guy deserves the benefit of the doubt. He was preparing to retire before he was asked to help out in an interim status. I would say he feels it's springtime in Elkins. Time to go home.

        • Aaron

          That's all fair bookman but if that's the case, why take the job on a permanent basis last year, particularly when, if I recall correctly, he didn't meet the current criteria for the state position?

          • Jason412


            Actually, I was going by the time he was on Talkline and Hoppy had asked him about it.

            It was about 2 months ago, if I had to guess.

          • The bookman

            I couldn't tell you what's changed, as I've only seen him in passing since he left Randolph. He says pressing family issues, and I will take him at his word. I don't need to know.