December 22, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 11



The West Virginia School Board Association’s Winter Conference program has received tentative approved by the County Board Member Training Standards Review Committee (TSRC).

The Committee met Monday, December 19, 2016, in Charleston.

The Conference will be held February 24 and 25, 2017, in Charleston.

Here are program particulars:

  • A representative of Data Quality Campaign is invited to present various matters regarding the “A-F” or similar systems in the nation, including a review of West Virginia’s “A-F School Accountability System,” especially an exploration of “A-F” matters regarding “capacity of resources.” The program includes participant involvement in group exercises electronic relating to “A-F” implementation, school employee and public sentiment toward the system, and similar issues. The state Department of Education link to the “A-F” system is http://wvde.state.wv.us/a-f/ The link to Data Quality Campaign’s website is http://dataqualitycampaign.org/
  • A representative of Public Agenda is invited to discuss specified ways in which to engage the public, particularly at the local, grassroots level. The session also emphasis how best to create citizen awareness of issues, including policy issues, and how to advocate for change at the local or grassroots level, especially in terms of public education. The electronic link to the Public Agenda website is http://www.publicagenda.org/
  • Review of issues being considered in the West Virginia’s Legislature’s 2017 regular session.
  • A session regarding whether the county superintendent is required prior to the county board acting upon agenda issues. Is such a recommendation required? If so, under what circumstances? What about school personnel matters? What are the advantages (or disadvantages) of the county board requiring a county superintendent recommendation on each agenda item? This session will include a role-playing exercise.
  • Several non-agenda sessions structured around educational issues.

In addition to the program, West Virginia School Board Association FY18 executive committee and co-regional directors will be elected at the meeting.

WVSBA members will receive additional information regarding the Winter Conference in January 2017.


The County Board Member Training Standards Review Committee (TSRC), which is largely responsible for matters concerning county board member training in West Virginia, met December 19 in Charleston.

The TSRC received a report from West Virginia School Board Association counsel Howard E. Seufer Jr., Esq., Bowles Rice LLC (Charleston), regarding the statutory roles of the Committee as compared to its Procedures of Operation and actions, including training precedence, taken since the TSR’s formation in 1990.

Seufer explained provisions of the Committee Procedures of Operation, last amended by the state Board of Education in 2013, conflict with §18-5-1a, the statute governing county board training. Seufer noted, however, the Procedures enlarge on various provisions of that law.

The West Virginia School Board Association (WVSBA) is seeking to modify the Procedures in order to develop a process whereby the Procedures provide the basis for TSRC operations, more in tandem with statute, according to West Virginia School Board Association Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D. O’Cull.

He said the association is suggesting a separate document – a training ‘leadership’ document – would provide instructions to potential training providers. This document would cover such things as how members receive training, what training efforts “count” toward the required training county board members, including trainings based on TSRC precedent since 1990, and suggested venues members may use to secure training. In addition, the “leadership” document would provide guidelines for evaluating training programs and also would list potential providers.

A final segment of the “leadership document” would emphasize local (county) and regional training specifics.

O’Cull said the association is working to develop “significant quality” local and regional trainings. “This is an emphasis we are exploring to better meeting identified county board needs both locally and regionally,” he said.

The WVSBA Executive Director has developed a training ‘leadership’ document which is grounded in a series of “Standards for Highly Effective” county boards which the state Board of Education adopted in 2012. “These Standards, in fact, were promoted by WVSBA and adopted by the State Board,” he said. He noted the ‘leadership’ guidelines were adopted by the TSRC earlier in 2016 but have not been used with consistency or on a large basis.

“It only makes sense to wed these two concepts – Standards and a nascent ‘leadership’ document – so we can streamline the training process and, as a result, tie these documents into the required self-evaluation county boards are required to accomplish annually,” according to O’Cull.

“It becomes one-stop shopping for county board members,” he said.

The O’Cull proposal centers on the three statutory provisions of training as specified in state law – “boardsmanship,” “governance effectiveness” and “school performance issues.” Thus, the Standards and the training ‘leadership’ document were combined under these headings and fleshed with various rubrics. The rubrics then become the ‘centerpiece’ of the county board self-evaluation process.

The TSRC is considering this and other proposals and will attempt to finalize training guidelines specifics at its April meeting.

State Board of Education Secretary and TSRC Chair Beverly Kingery is asking the TSRC to determine “how” to combine the documents or if this is preferable. She then will work on this approach, presenting her suggestions at the April TSRC meeting.

In other action, the TSRC:

  • Reviewed evaluations from several recent WVSBA training sessions. In most instances, the evaluations were positive. O’Cull stated future program evaluations will be online.
  • Approved, for presentation to the State Board, the listing of county board members’ credit hours training for the year ending FY16. All sitting county board members received the requisite number of hours of training required.
  • Agreed to meet following the 2017 regular legislative session.


Richard Woofter, who served on the Lewis County school board, died on November 20 in Weston. He was 63 years old.

Woofter was a graduate of Lewis County High School and Glenville State College, as well as West Virginia University, where he earned two master’s degrees. During his 38-year career as a teacher in the Lewis County schools, he also served as president of the local chapter of the West Virginia Education Association. He retired from teaching in 2013 and then went on to serve on the Lewis County Board of Education.

His survivors include his wife of almost 37 years, Janice, and their daughters, Joy and Jana. Friends and family celebrated Woofter’s life on November 26 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Weston.


County Boards of Education Members

James “Jim” Frye (Logan)
(February 21, 1965 - March 8, 2016

Harold D. “Bato” Carpenter (Webster)
(November 17, 1935 - October 3, 2016)

Richard Garrett Woofter (Lewis)
(October 29, 1953 - November 20, 2016)