CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bill Raglin, who served on the Kanawha County Board of Education for nearly two decades, died Monday morning at a local hospital.
Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring said Raglin was "a very dedicated man" who, since he was elected to the school board in 1994 at age 57, was particularly passionate about providing more vocational education opportunities for the county's students.
"He was very dedicated to Kanawha County Schools, and he wanted it to be the best it could be. He wanted to see all kids succeed. He was just that kind of person," Duerring said.
The board will fill Raglin's seat with an interim board member until the seat is up for election in May, Duerring said.
The board members must select a replacement for Raglin within 45 days, and that person will serve until June 30, according to Kanawha County Schools attorney Jim Withrow.
Board of Education President Pete Thaw, who worked with Raglin for 15 years, said Raglin told him he had plans to run for re-election in May.
"But that was before he got sick," Thaw said Monday.
Raglin had recently suffered health problems and undergone knee surgery, Thaw said. He was not present at the school board's regular monthly meeting held last week.
On Monday, the Kanawha County Commission requested that all flags in the county be lowered to half-staff in honor of Raglin.
Commission President Kent Carper said Raglin has been "a powerful advocate for students and learning" since his election to the school board.
"Bill Raglin was the epitome of a school board member. He wanted to make sure all students received a quality education. He was interested in giving all students the best opportunities to succeed in life, whether they were college-bound or not," Carper said. "He was a good friend and an absolute perfect example of what a public servant should be."
Longtime educator Priscilla Haden, who was named to the Kanawha County school board in 1994 with Raglin and went on to serve as president of the state Board of Education, said she stayed in touch with Raglin over the years and made dinner plans with him just a few weeks ago.