The Randolph County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to accept the resignation of Superintendent Dr. James Phares, who last week was named the new state superintendent of schools.
Phares' resignation is effective Dec. 30.
"I want to thank you," board member Harvey Taylor told Phares. "You've done an awesome job - you got a levy passed and got so much accomplished. You are the man our state needs."
The West Virginia State Board of Education voted unanimously Dec. 12 to make Phares the state superintendent of schools while a nationwide search to find a longterm superintendent is undertaken. He will assume his duties in Charleston Jan. 2.
"I have a strong belief in this (Randolph County) board because of the way we have grown," Phares said Monday. "I trust you to make the right decisions. You may disagree, but you need to stick together.
"I love this town. I love the kids. I love the teachers," Phares said. "I love this board. Can this board continue to love each other?"
Phares then presented a video clip highlighting the success of the Elkins High School football team this season. While the video was playing Phares left the meeting to attend another function.
The board later went into executive session after approving payment of bills.
Phares was hired by the Randolph BOE in 2009, and took over the school system when it was under scrutiny from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Office of Education Performance Audit. An OPEA audit outlined several deficiencies in the school system that could have led to a takeover of the local school system by the state. Phares helped lead the school system through the turmoil, and full accreditation was eventually given to the system.
Phares also focused on dealing with structural problems at Elkins Middle School, and the dilapidation of the former Elkins High School building, which had become "a symbol of decay," he said.
He also helped to spearhead the excess levy that was passed by voters in 2010. The levy was the first to pass in Randolph County since 1989.
A special session of the Randolph County Board of Education is slated for 6 p.m. today to discuss the appointment of an interim superintendent. The BOE will also meet in special session on the interim superintendent at 6 p.m. Dec. 26 at the board office.