LEORNARDTOWN, MD, — The soon-to-be new West Virginia superintendent of schools said he considers the newly forged relationship a “natural fit.”
Dr. Michael Martirano spoke with MetroNews affiliate WDYK Radio in Cumberland, Maryland Thursday about his selection by the West Virginia Board of Education as the top candidate for the superintendent’s job. The official school board vote is set for July 1.
Martirano, who is leaving the St. Mary’s County Public School District in Maryland to take the West Virginia job, said the natural fit comes in part because he grew up in the Appalachian Mountains in Frostburg, Md. not far from the West Virginia border.
“My grandfather was a coal miner and I spent many a day in West Virginia,” he said. “I’m very familiar with the schools in West Virginia. I love the region and I love the mountains.”
Martirano said he’s “chomping at the bit” to start the work in West Virginia to make the state “the best educational system in America.”
Martirano’s nine-year stint at St. Mary’s in Leonardtown, Md. has been lauded by many. He’s been recognized as the top school superintendent in the state and as a top education innovator. The St. Mary’s school system’s graduation rate has gone from 81 percent to 92 percent in recent years.
“I’m intending to bring many of the same visionary kind of reform efforts that we’ve done in the state of Maryland to get to impact change for young people to West Virginia,” Martirano said. “So I’m extremely energized by the whole process and possibilities that exist.”
Martirano said he was impressed through the interview process with the desire for education reform from the state School Board and the administration of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
“We want all of the young people to achieve at a high level of proficiency,” Martirano said.