CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Board of Education's firing of state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple contradicts a glowing evaluation of her work that board members gave her just five months earlier.
Marple's performance evaluation, which commends her for her leadership of the board, her efforts to keep the public informed and for a wide variety of improvements in schools, was conducted in June and included a $2,000 raise.
"Dr. Marple approaches all of her work with an unwavering commitment to students and educators," board President Wade Linger said in a news release following the evaluation. "She is an outstanding visionary and leader. In just over a year, she has brought national recognition to our state and worked diligently regarding teacher quality, school nutrition, pre-[kindergarten] education and organizational leadership."
The title of the press release that announced her evaluation was: "Leadership Noted Among Top Qualities of the State Superintendent of Schools."
The "evidence-based progress report" lists numerous accomplishments achieved since Marple took over as state superintendent. That includes an increase in certain test scores and participation rates, an emphasis on health and wellness and students who are better prepared for college or the work force.
The evaluation points to the following statistics as "evidence of results":
However, the state board pointed to a different list of statistics last Thursday when it voted for a second time to fire Marple by a 6-2 vote.
Linger joined board members Gayle Manchin, William White, Lloyd Jackson, Michael Green and Robert Dunlevy in voting to fire Marple. Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips voted against it.
The revote was in response to a pending lawsuit filed with the state Supreme Court. The suit alleges that the board's firing process broke state sunshine laws.
Education officials and members of the public statewide have voiced their displeasure with the board's lack of reasoning for Marple's firing. Linger attempted to give them more specific reasons at Thursday's meeting.
He pointed to the following statistics:
"The board determined that in order to fix these problems, we needed to head in a new direction with new leadership," Linger said.