Think back to your years in school.
Who was the one teacher who had the biggest influence on you? Surely there was someone. A teacher who helped you understand those tricky math problems, or stopped your fellow classmates from picking on you at recess, or simply offered a listening ear when you needed someone to talk to.
As the new president of the state’s board of education said earlier this week during an awards ceremony recognizing local teachers, “I don’t think there’s probably a one of us in the room that can’t think back on an adult or teacher, someone who came into our lives that had a great influence.”
It was Gayle Manchin’s first local speaking appearance since becoming president of the West Virginia Board of Education.
Manchin, who is the wife of Farmington native and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was elected earlier this month as the new president of the state board following a unanimous vote by her fellow board members. She had served as vice president since 2011.
A seasoned educator herself, Manchin took time at Tuesday’s awards ceremony to reflect on the importance of building relationships with students.
“That ability to relate to and integrate with students on a level that has nothing to do with curriculum or content area — you can’t really qualify that. You can’t measure it, but you can see the results,” she said.
That perspective is likely to serve her well as she steps into the president’s chair. Her new role, like any position of leadership, not only promises to be a challenging one, but is one that will be taken on under the public’s watchful eye.
And it’s coming at a critical time for the state board, which plans to conduct a nationwide search for a new state superintendent of schools as early as September.
Manchin said the controversial time leading up to this point — the board abruptly fired former Superintendent Jorea Marple in November, and she’s now suing the board for wrongful termination; in the meantime, the board hired Jim Phares to act as interim superintendent — has been a learning experience for the board, and its members have taken on more accountability than previous state school boards.
“I think we’re evolving into a state board that is willing to step up and assume the responsibility it should have, and also the accountability. The role of the state board had devolved into an area that really was not serving the purpose that it was supposed to have,” she told The Charleston Gazette earlier this month. “What has happened over the last six months is that this board has begun to grow and evolve into what a state board (is supposed to be.) And so now we have a lot of work to do.”
The work begins immediately, and we can think of no better person to lead the charge. After all, even though the state’s former first lady isn’t a Marion County native — she was born in Beckley — she has strong ties to this area. She knows the ins and outs of the education system. She knows what this state needs.
Plus, she follows in the footsteps of another prominent Marion Countian, Wade Linger, who was president of the state school board from 2011-13.
Marion County has been represented well at the state level, and we have no reason to think that won’t continue under Manchin’s leadership. We’re confident she has the knowledge and determination to succeed in this new endeavor, and we wish her nothing but luck as she works to improve education for each of West Virginia’s students.
Think back to your years in school.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
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