West Virginia’s State School Chief Will Resign at End of School Year


West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano, announced Tuesday that he will resign his position on June 30, 2017.

He wants to move closer to his family in Maryland, a press release from the West Virginia Department of Education announced.  His wife passed away earlier this year.

“After much consideration and heartfelt discussion with my family, I have decided to resign my position as the State Superintendent of West Virginia,” Martirano said. “The past two years have been the most rewarding of my career and I could not be more proud of the work we’ve accomplished on behalf of our young people. Unfortunately, I have been challenged with personal family matters outside of my control and it is necessary for me to move closer to my family and my children and seek employment opportunities near them. It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve as West Virginia’s Superintendent and I would like to thank our State Board for being my partner in education and for their confidence and support.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I accept Dr. Martirano’s resignation,” said State Board of Education President Mike Green. “Dr. Martirano has done an outstanding job as our State Superintendent, has had positive impact on the state’s educational system and has mapped out a clear path for continuous improvement. Under his leadership, we have codified our College and Career Readiness Standards, we finally have a consistent and continuous assessment and accountability system plus our students have shown gains in proficiency on assessments.”

Martriano has been a roadblock to good Common Core repeal legislation and instead led a rebranding of the standards.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports:

Much of the public education debate during his tenure has been focused on Common Core education standards and the Smarter Balanced end-of-year standardized testing, as well as the Legislature’s efforts to dump both of them.

Last school year, his department led a special review of the state’s Common Core standards that didn’t result in many changes, although Martirano still argues that the state’s standards no longer are based on the Common Core national standards blueprint. In that “Academic Spotlight” review of the standards, more than 90 percent of the more than 240,000 online comments from more than 5,000 individuals supported the standards, and although the website accepted comments from anyone over 18, self-identified West Virginia K-12 teachers were responsible for 91 percent of the comments.

Mountain State lawmakers, while highly critical of the Common Core standards, which also have been controversial in other states, offered few specifics about exactly why they dislike the standards.

In another review Martirano initiated that hasn’t led to much change, a majority of members of the Commission on Assessment he formed favored moving away from Smarter Balanced, but Martirano, who originally tried to keep the public out of the commission’s meetings before reversing course, never released official “final recommendations” from the group, and the state will continue using Smarter Balanced this school year.