By January 24, 2017 Read More →

Bill White named to head WV minority affairs office

By ANDREW BROWN

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Board of Education member Bill White has been appointed by new Gov. Jim Justice to be the next director of the state’s Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs.

Dr. Bill White

White will step down from the state school board, which already had one vacant seat and another member, Tina Combs, serving after her term has expired. White’s nine-year term with the school board would have continued through 2019.

At the Office of Minority Affairs, White will replace Carolyn Stuart as director. Stuart had led the office since it was created under Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in 2012.

“I am humbled to have the opportunity to give back to the state I love and help Governor Justice make West Virginia number one,” White said in a news release. “I want to modernize the office and focus its mission on making West Virginia more inclusive so that all of our people have a fair shot at new job opportunities and quality of life, and to keep our young talent here at home. My hope is that the young people of our state, regardless of color or creed, can have the same opportunities I’ve had.”

White was previously the CEO of The Management Development Group, which specialized in consulting for Fortune 500 businesses, and worked for numerous companies in New York and California, according to the news release. He received his bachelor’s degree from Bluefield State College and his doctorate of education from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

“Dr. Bill White is experienced in academics, an accomplished businessman, and a true leader in the African-American community,” Justice said. “I’m confident that his fresh perspective on the office will help my administration make West Virginia a more welcoming place for all people, and grow jobs and expand education opportunities. I want us all joining hands to cross the finish line together; no West Virginian should be left behind or denied an opportunity based on who they are or where they come from.”

Before being appointed to the state Board of Education by then-Gov. Joe Manchin, White worked at Mountain State University, where he was the founding dean of the School of Leadership and Professional Development. The for-profit school lost its university accreditation in 2012 and was sued by its former students, leading to a settlement of more than $11 million.

White stepping down from the State Board of Education will give Justice the ability to appoint at least three new state education leaders early on in his term. Scott Rotruck, another state school board member, will end his term later this year, and board President Mike Green’s term will lapse in late 2018.

During his inaugural address, Justice said he wanted to reform the state’s education system by cutting “unnecessary agencies” and getting “the bureaucrats out of the way.”

Justice held up a blue folder that he said contained a plan to change the state’s education system, but has yet to release any details of that plan.

During his time on the school board, White publicly disagreed with fellow board members over the state’s effort to consolidate Fayette County schools. He also filed an ethics complaint against Green over the state’s open meetings rule and alleged that his fellow board members made a “backroom deal” when selecting the board’s three officers. The complaint was dismissed.

The governor’s news release lists one of White’s qualifications for leading the state minority office was his production of a “world-renowned video” that was used in the 1990s for diversity training efforts at businesses and nonprofit and government agencies. It was called “The Power of Diversity.”

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