The State Board of Education's choice to oversee West Virginia's public schools is offering a glimpse at his educational priorities.
The board will vote next week on the appointment of Michael Martirano. If approved, he is expected to begin work in the fall.
In an interview with The Charleston Gazette, Martirano says he'll strive to graduate more students and to improve the academic performance of poor and minority students.
More than half of all students in the state live at or below the poverty line.
Martirano has been superintendent for nearly a decade in Maryland's St. Mary's County. There, he said, school officials have been successful in closing the achievement gap.
He says he wants to replicate that success in West Virginia.
Martirano would succeed Jim Phares, who is retiring June 30. State board members announced earlier in the week Deputy Superintendent Charles Heinlein will take the position from July 1 until Martirano takes over.