CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Board of Education is expected to approve the hiring of Maryland native Dr. Michael Martirano as the new state Superintendent of Schools.
Martirano is eager to get to work and speaking on MetroNews Talkline recently indicated he comes to the job with no misconceptions of the challenges facing the state’s education system.
“It is my firm believe and philosophy that we have to have the most highly effective and highly qualified teacher in front of our children every day,” Martirano said. “That just goes without compromise.”
But, West Virginia has struggled to keep those qualified teachers at the blackboard in recent years for a variety of reasons. Some teachers cross state lines for better pay while others don’t want to go into teaching in depressed areas of the state. Martirano said he faced similar challenges in his position as a superintendent in Maryland.
“I recognize the salary disparity. I recognize the fact that individuals go to other states,” he said. “What we have to do is provide the emphasis to support our teachers, to have the professional development for teachers, to have the right working conditions, and ultimately work with our state to look at what we can do collectively to improve the salary of our teachers. It’s a very competitive world out there.”
While leadership changes, the economic realities do not. West Virginia will be forced to do more with less as it has been for year. Martirano said he’s up for the challenge.
“I want to let every teacher in the state of West Virginia know I have great respect for them, and all of this comes down to having a highly qualified teacher in front of our students every day,” he said. “We have to put measures in place to keep teachers from leaving our state and from leaving areas of our state which have greater challenges.”