September 1, 2011 - Volume 31 Issue 21


More than 250 county boards of education members, county schools superintendents, school administrators and others have registered for the West Virginia School Board Association’s Conference ’11 which will be held Friday, Sept. 9, and Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Town Center Marriott Hotel in Charleston.

The Conference will provide county board members 7.50 hours of approved training.
The program includes a major presentation regarding state-level policy challenges and how school boards in Wisconsin and Minnesota, in particular, responded to these events, including major shifts in regard to employee relations as well as a government shutdown.
“With the country in what appears to be major flux in terms of the tenor of educational policy and policymaking, including that at the federal level, this promises to be a very good program, WVSBA Executive Director Howard O’Cull said. “At the suggestion of our Executive Board and the County Board Member Training Standards Review Committee (TSRC), we are going to ensure the content and presentation relevant to West Virginia.”

O’Cull said panelists will first discuss state-level and national policy directions followed by a “state panel” whose members will respond to information and provide their remarks within the “context of West Virginia.”

Panelists include: Rick Eloranta, president of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards;  Bob Meeks, executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association; Tom Gentzel, Pennsylvania School Boards Association executive director; and Mary Broderick (Connecticut), president of the National School Boards Association.

Mike Resnick, an NSBA staff official responsible for advocacy services, will moderate that panel.

The state panel will include: Sis Murray (Marion), WVSBA president; state Supt. of Schools Jorea Marple, Ed.D.; political analyst and newspaper columnist Robert Rupp, Ph.D.; and Kelly Goes, a former state Commerce secretary. Rick Olcott (Wood), an association past president, will moderate that panel.

“We will have time for formal discussions, questions, comments and audience interaction,” O’Cull said.

Other program segments include: a discussion about formulation of “Standards for High Functioning County Boards;” a session about to county board administrative hiring and selection; a presentation by Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier; and programming relating to county board strategic plans.

O’Cull said pre-conference readings will be forwarded Sept. 2 and the conference also will include an executive board meeting and the FY12 Delegate Assembly.

For programmatic questions, please contact O’Cull. His preferred contact information is or telephone 304-346-0571. His mobile telephone number is 304-549-9463.

For registration or logistical questions, please contact Conference Registrar Shirley Davidson. Her preferred contact information is or telephone 304-346-0571.

According to association records, the first WVSBA fall conference was held in 1967. The association was founded in 1952, received a state charter in 1954 and association membership was permitted by a 1958 statute.


The West Virginia School Board Association has appointed a 32-member committee whose role is to develop, for ultimate state Board of Education approval, a series of standards, functions and rubrics for high-functioning county boards.

According to WVSBA President Sis Murray (Marion), who co-chairs the committee along with Peter H. Dougherty (Jefferson), the group expects its work to be completed in time for the 2013 Winter Conference FY13 Annual Business Meeting.

She said the standards will be based on the “Standards for High Quality Schools” adopted by the state Board of Education.

Murray notes county board members will be fully briefed on the standards matter during the upcoming Association Conference ’11.

“I encourage all county board members to attend the session relating to the standards,” she said.

Members of the WVSBA Standards Committee include:

County Board Members

  • Mary "Sis" Murray, R.N. (Marion). Registered Nurse - Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center and Fairmont General Hospital. WVSBA President.
  • Peter H. Dougherty (Jefferson). Board President.. Senior Policy Advisor, US Department of Veterans Affairs.  WVSBA Past President.

Members Representing WVSBA Regions

  • Region I - Greg Prudich (Mercer). Board President. Attorney, Sanders, Austin, Flanigan and Flanigan.
  • Region II - Suzanne Oxley (Cabell). Board President. Former practicing attorney.
  • Region III - Robin C. Rector, M.A.  (Kanawha).  Director of Education -  Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Health Education and Research Institute.
  • Region IV - Kathy Parker (Braxton). Board Vice President. Small business owner. Treasurer – West Virginia PTA.
  • Region V - Rick Olcott (Wood). Global Supply Chain Manager - DuPont Filaments. WVSBA Past President. 
  • Region VI – Jim Piccirillo (Brooke).  Board President. Retired Pennsylvania school administrator.
  • Region VII - S. Eldon Harper (Tucker). Board President. Former teacher, principal, Supervisor of Curriculum – Tucker County Schools.
  • Region VIII - Gary Kable (Jefferson). Board Vice President. Semi-retired business owner. Former county commission president. WVSBA Vice President.

Alternate Members

  • Jimmy Wyatt (Tyler).  Former principal, former service National Federation of High School Board of Directors/President West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission. WVSBA President-elect.
  • Paul Derico (Lewis), Principal St. Patrick Catholic School, Weston. Former teacher, principal and central office administrator, Lewis County Schools.
  • Mike Mitchem (McDowell), Board President. Executive Director of the King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority. WVSBA Immediate Past President.


Ex Officio (Non-Voting)

  • Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., WVSBA Executive Director.

W. Va. Board of Education

  • Gayle C. Manchin (Kanawha), W. Va. Board of Education Vice President; Chair County Board Member Training Standards Review Committee (TSRC).
  • Priscilla Haden (Kanawha), member W. Va. Board of Education.

Constituency Members

  • Gus Penix, Ed.D., Executive Director, W. Va. Office of Education Performance Audits.
  • Jane Lynch, Executive Director, Regional Education Service Agency VIII.
  • William Smith, Cabell County Schools Superintendent.
  • Charlotte Hutchins, Raleigh County Schools Superintendent.
  • Frank Collier, Executive Director, W. Va. Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals.
  • Designee – Senate Education Committee (as may be appointed by Chairman Robert H. Plymale, D-Wayne).
  • Designee – House Education Committee (as may be appointed by Chairwoman Mary Poling, D-Barbour).
  • Designee – WV-AFT – Judy Hale, president
  • Designee – W. Va. Education Association – Dale Lee, President
  • Designee – W. Va. School Service Personnel Association (as appointed by that organization’s leadership).


  • Kathy Finsley, General Counsel/Human Resources Director – Ohio County Schools.
  • Howard E. Seufer Jr., Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love, WVSBA Counsel.
  • Heather Deskins, General Counsel/Office of Legal Services, W. Va. Department of Education

W. Va. Department of Education

  • Michele Blatt, Executive Director, Office of School Improvement
  • David Price, Coordinator, Office of School Improvement
  • Charles Heinlein, Deputy Superintendent of Schools

NOTE:  WVSBA Alternate members serve in circumstances wherein a committee member is unable to participate.


Barbara Parsons, Ed.D. (Monongalia), co-chair of the West Virginia School Board Association’s Strategic Planning Committee, announced the committee will meet at 10:00 a.m., Friday, September 9, 2011.

According to Parsons, who co-chairs the committee along with Rick Snuffer (Raleigh), the committee is likely to focus on a few strategic or tactical areas such as advocacy and then form a smaller subgroup whose purpose is to focus on long-range association goals and objectives.

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee include:

  • Greg Prudich, Esq. (Mercer), Region I Co-director
  • Suzanne Oxley (Cabell)
  • William J. Raglin (Kanawha), Past President (FY04)
  • Lloyd Adkins, DDS (Nicholas), Region IV Co-director
  • Jimmy Wyatt (Tyler), WVSBA President-Elect
  • Lori Kestner (Marshall), Region VI Co-director
  • Stelman “Buzz” Harper, Region VII Co-director
  • Gary Kable (Jefferson), WVSBA Vice President
  • Erik Schramm (Ohio)
  • Mary “Sis” Murray (Marion), WVSBA President
  • Paul Derico (Lewis), Region VII Co-director
  • Dave Ambrose (Morgan), Region VII Co-director
  • Rick Olcott (Wood), WVSBA Past President (FY10)
  • Jim Crawford (Kanawha), WVSBA Financial Officer
  • WVSBA Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D., serves as an ex officio member of the Committee.