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Randolph schools chief ready for Fayette challenge

Inter-Mountain photo Terry George
Inter-Mountain photo
Terry George

ELKINS, W.Va. — Terry George will resign as Randolph County schools superintendent Thursday and take over the reigns as the superintendent of the Fayette County school system July1.

“It’s just an opportunity to move and take a position in a larger county than Randolph with more students and more staff,” George told The Inter-Mountain. “It’s a challenge and that’s something all administrators look for. You move when the right job presents itself.”

George was appointed to the Fayette position by Dr. Michael Martirano, the state superintendent of schools, in a move announced Tuesday by the state Department of Education. The state Board of Education intervened in Fayette County in 2010, citing student achievement and facility issues.

George told The Inter-Mountain it’s a tremendous opportunity to work with the state BOE and Fayette County school administrators in addressing several facility issues the county is facing.

George said some of the unique obstacles he’s faced as the Randolph County superintendent have prepared him well for his upcoming role and the challenges he expects. He cited structural remodeling at Elkins Middle School and Third Ward Elementary, along with the recent renovations at Harman School after the collapse of the building’s ceiling, as examples.

“They’re facing some of the same issues down there,” George said. “They’re experiencing some facilities that are older now and are needing renovation and they’re trying to find an avenue to facilitate that. I hope to be of some assistance in that.”

Just last week, Fayette County voters defeated a $39 million bond referendum aimed at financing new school construction and renovating other existing campuses. About 61.9 percent of voters cast ballots against the bond call Saturday.

George’s new appointment comes with an annual salary of $126,00. His Randolph County salary for the 2014-2015 school year was $99,910 and was expected to increase to $102,907.30 for the upcoming year.

“I’ve had the most enjoyable time of my life in the 36 years that I’ve worked in Randolph County,” George said, noting he’s worked his entire career within the Randolph school system. “I love Randolph County, but this is just an opportunity for me to advance my personal career and you sometimes have to take advantage of those situations.”

Martirano appointed George to the new position because of his extensive experience in curriculum and instruction, facilities and supervision, according to a Department of Education press release.

“I am pleased that Mr. George is motivated to serve Fayette County Schools and look forward to the leadership he will provide to building community relationships and furthering the success of all Fayette County students,” Martirano said in the release.

Gayle Manchin, president of the state BOE, said the Board appreciates George for accepting the challenge and is looking forward to working with him.

Current Fayette County Superintendent Dr. Serena Starcher will resume her previous post as the county’s assistant superintendent.

The Randolph County Board of Education is expected to accept George’s resignation and appoint an interim superintendent during a special meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday at the BOE’s central office in Elkins.

George served as the county’s interim superintendent beginning in 2012, after Dr. James Phares’ resigned to become the state superintendent of education. George was appointed Randolph’s superintendent on July 1, 2013.

In February 2009, George, who had served as the county’s assistant superintendent for secondary schools since 2006, was named interim superintendent following the retirement of former superintendent Sue Hinzman.

Prior to working in county administration, George worked in several capacities in the school system after becoming an educator in 1979, including serving as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was principal at North Elementary School, assistant principal at Elkins Middle School and a social studies teacher at both Elkins High School and EMS.

George attended Davis & Elkins College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history, and then West Virginia University, where he obtained a master’s degree in education administration.

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