ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A West Virginia native says whether it’s a small school district in West Virginia or the largest in America in the Los Angeles Unified School District, a lot of the problems today surrounding pubic schools are the same.
Chip Slaven is a native of Grafton, W.Va. and this month took over as the Director of the National School Board Association.
“There are clearly big differences, depending on how you do things, but there are also some similarities. I guarantee you if you sat down a board member from Los Angeles and a board member from Taylor County, they’d be able to talk about a lot of the same issues,” Slaven said.
He said the biggest obstacles are universal. Across the nation, school boards are looking at ways to safely reopen their schools, dealing with teacher shortages, looking for ways to cover the ‘homework divide” with a lack of adequate internet connectivity for students, and how to deal with students who have disabilities.
Slaven believes his new role is to help foster and effect policy which will enable school board’s nationally to navigate those problems in the best interest of their students. The pandemic presented a load of challenges which every board of education in America faces. He added however, the pandemic also showed us the way forward in some cases. Slaven said a lot rides on how boards handle the evolution of the education system.
“What is the future of public school going to look like? How is it going to work and how will it utilize technology more effectively and personalize learning for students which is something we really need to do. If we do those things, students are not only going to graduate from high school, but they’re going to be graduating high school better prepared for today’s modern world,” Slaven explained.
Slaven has extensive government relations and legal experience having served as director of federal policy and intergovernmental affairs for former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise and district director for former U.S. Representative Wise. He also was an attorney at Jackson Kelly PLLC and a law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of West Virginia. He is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and state of West Virginia.
Slaven grew up in Grafton and graduated from Grafton High School then completed his undergraduate work and earned his law degree at WVU.