January 12, 2018 - Volume 38 Issue 1



The West Virginia School Board Association (WVSBA) Executive Committee, which is comprised of WVSBA President Barbara L. Parsons, Ed.D., President-elect Scotty W. Miley (Grant), Vice President Lori E. Kestner (Marshall) and Ryan White (Kanawha), will meet Wednesday, January 17.

The purpose of the meeting is for the Executive Committee to:

  • Determine legislative priorities for the 2018 regular session, especially regarding a proposed amendment to the state Constitution relative to removal of personal property taxes from business inventories and goods.
  • Finalize the association’s Winter Conference program which will be held February 16 and 17 in Charleston.
  • Review the work of several committees determining direction for WVSBA.
  • Plan the association’s Orientation ’18 to be held in Morgantown in late June.
  • Receive a staff update regarding various association initiatives and efforts.

President Parsons will preside.

Parsons is president of the Monongalia County Board of Education. Miley is president of the Grant County Board of Education.


The West Virginia School Board Association (WVSBA) membership has received a survey to determine an association position of matters relating to possible reconstitution of the state Board of Education, including some legislators’ calls for WVBE members to be elected – at least a portion of members – and related proposals such as reducing WVBE members’ terms and subjecting WVBE policies, rules and regulations to legislative oversight – a matter the state Supreme Court of Appeals first rejected in 1988 and reiterated intensively last year in a case involving a consolidation matter arising in Nicholas County.

“It is good we are undertaking this survey. We have never surveyed our membership regarding sentiments about electing or appointing state Board of Education members. Based on survey results, we will have a more definitive membership ‘read,’” according to WVSBA Executive Director Howard M. O’Cull, Ed.D.

O’Cull explained the association’s Executive Board will then fashion a policy statement regarding the various WVBE issues included in the survey.


New Academy Assists W.Va. Board Members  

Editor’s Note: Various issues of The Legislature will include an occasional column about past West Virginia School Board (WVSBA)  association endeavors.

The following article, from 1986, relates to early efforts regarding county board member training and development. Then WVSBA President Dr. James S. Wilson (Marshall) discusses school board member training a developing in several states.

Wilson is a member of the state Board of Education.

 Are school board members, through their state school boards association, willing to initiate and support their own training effort? Or, are board members going to wait until training is imposed by those on the outside?

These were the questions that caused the West Virginia School Boards Association to review its method of providing training programs for its membership. The association decided to establish a refined training program for elected school board members called the West Virginia Boardsmanship Academy.

In its first year of operation, the academy will receive 50 percent of its program funding from Marshall University. We believe that this is the first time that a major state university has become so involved in an effort to provide continuing education for school board members.

We are extremely pleased that Marshall University has agreed to join us in this effort. The university’s participation will not only provide instant credibility to the academy along with a pool of information and personnel for our training programs, it will allow us to provide a high quality program with a modest investment of funds.

A board of directors appointed by the executive board of the West Virginia School Boards Association will oversee the operations of the academy. In order to provide for many different points of the view, the board will be composed of representatives of administrators and school employee groups, a legislator, a state board member and the state superintendent of schools, as well as elected county school board members. The WVSBA staff will provide technical support.

The West Virginia Boardsmanship Academy focuses on seven “areas of discipline:” (1) effective board service; (2) effective personnel relations; (3) policy development; (4) school finance; (5) learning programs (curriculum/instruction); (6) school law; and (7) effective community relations.

The academy features four levels of accreditation. Credits can be earned by attending state and regional conferences, national conferences and seminars conducted by the academy.

Because the sessions conducted by the academy are the foundation for the entire accreditation effort, they are assigned the highest credit values.

The first session of the academy was held in September at our annual fall conference. The presenter, Molly McGee, who led the group in discussing board-superintendent relations, time management and effect board service among other topics, helped make our first session a rousing success.

Given the various state and national educational reforms being proposed, we believe the academy will help ensure accountability to the public at a time when decision makers are calling for more emphasis on the local governance of public schools. By accepting the challenge of the Boardsmanship Academy, board members are making a statement to the citizens of their county, legislators and state officials that demonstrates their personal commitment to achieving excellence in boardsmanship.

It is the intention of the academy to professionalize school board service, to help make board members better, more informed decision makers and to enhance their ability to serve the public – all through a modes investment of time, effort and local resources.

James S. Wilson, president of the West Virginia School Boards Association, is a member of the Marshall County School Board in Moundsville, W.Va. (School Board News, November 26, 1986)


Emy Rogge painting (German artist / 1866-1959)

In Memoriam

Forever is composed of nows.”  -  Emily Dickinson

County Board of Education Member

William “Pete” Thaw (Kanawha) / January 5, 1931 - December 28, 2017