CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Education leaders are excited about the candidate named to become the next West Virginia School Superintendent. The state Board of Education announced Wednesday that Frostburg, Md. native Dr. Michael Martirano will be nominated at the board’s next meeting.
Board President Gayle Manchin said they received nearly 250 inquiries about the job, 60-plus applications from 43 different states and narrowed it down to three finalists. In the end, Manchin said when they interviewed Martirano, he was a perfect fit for the position.
“He not only talks the talk, he has walked the walk and has proven himself and he asked to be able to come here and prove himself again,” President Manchin said on MetroNews Talkline Thursday.
Martirano not only raised test scores in St. Mary’s County, Md. where he has served as superintendent for nine years, but he has also named superintendent of the year and education innovator of the year in Maryland. Manchin said even more importantly, he has three critical qualities the board was looking for including: energy, passion and vision.
“We were looking for someone who had a vision for where education should be going not only in West Virginia but in this country: elevating rigor, changing the standards, change the culture of raising that bar,” according to Manchin.
Another education leader happy with the board’s decision is West Virginia American Federation of Teachers President Christine Campbell. She spoke yesterday evening with Manchin about Martirano and the qualities he brings to the state.
“From what I’ve read and my conversation with (Gayle) I do believe we have an opportunity here to push education in the right direction in West Virginia,” Campbell said.
She said the true test will be if Martirano is willing to work with everyone at the table, including the teachers and the unions.
“My hope is that he will see the value in bringing all the stakeholders together. I think any success we’ve had in the last several years in working with the state Department of Education and the Board or Education is because of the opportunities to collaborate and bring everyone to the table.”
The board will nominate and vote on whether to hire Martirano July 1. The board will meet again July 9 where members plan to introduce Martirano at that time.