Ashton Marra Published

State Board Unanimously Approves New Superintendent


It’s official. The West Virginia Board of Education has approved the next state superintendent of schools.

Members unanimously agreed to hire Dr. Michael Martirano Tuesday to take over as state school’s chief this fall. Martirano currently serves as superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools in southern Maryland, a position he’s held for almost a decade.

Martirano replaces Charles Heinlein who was appointed to the position last week. Heinlein is the former deputy superintendent and will return to that office when Martirano begins. Heinlein took over as states superintendent Tuesday, replacing retiring superintendent James Phares.

In a written statement last week, Board President Gayle Manchin said Martirano understands the need for improved student achievement in West Virginia and has demonstrated a record of success in that area.

The Charleston Gazette reports he is leaving St. Mary’s County amidst an investigation into a $6 million budget deficit. Martirano pointed to unexpected health-care costs, the harsh winter and a growing special education budget for the lack of funding.

President of the county’s branch of the National Education Association Anna Laughlin says the school system is expected to break even after cutting 35 jobs and already-promised raises.

Martirano was hired after a nationwide searching costing the state more than $40,000. Sixty-four applicants from more than 40 states applied for the position.