CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education fired Schools Superintendent Jorea Marple on Thursday, and two board members who opposed the decision said they will resign.
Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said the board voted 5-2 to terminate Marple’s contract, with members Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden opposing the decision. The resignations of Phillips and Haden are effective Dec. 31.
The board met again Thursday and appointed Deputy Superintendent Charles Heinlein to replace Marple pending a Nov. 21 meeting to choose a long-term hire. Board President Wade Linger announced that he wants Randolph County Schools Superintendent James Phares for the job.
Linger said in a statement that the board believes the state’s public school system needs a new direction.
“Dr. Marple’s concern for and commitment to West Virginia’s schoolchildren is well known. She has served them with distinction, and we appreciate her public service. However, the West Virginia Board of Education believes this is a time for a change in direction. As such, we think it is important for new leadership,” Linger said.
Marple said in a telephone interview that she was surprised by the decision.
“I had received only words of encouragement,” she said.
She said she had tried as superintendent to identify issues, including ways to fund schools.
“My heart, my soul and my being are with teachers and children and I hope to continue to be an advocate for meeting the needs of the children,” she said.