Working to Better Education in W.Va.

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of leading our state’s board of education, and it appears newly selected board president Paul Hardesty understands the weight on his shoulders.

Certainly he knows our state’s public schools face enormous challenges, most having little to do with traditional academics.

“Some of these kids have not had a normal school year in two years,” he said on “MetroNews Talkline.” “The only hot meals they get are in our doors. The only shoulder they have to cry on is our teacher or service personnel or classroom aide that’s there, or a bus driver.”

Hardesty has experience mopping up messes, as he served as president of the Logan County Board of Education in 2016, when they were working to address inappropriate expenditures.

“We got it cleaned up,” he said.

He also comes in just as current state Superintendent Clayton Burch is leaving to lead the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney. That means Hardesty will lead a search for the state’s next superintendent.

But his biggest challenge might be in working with West Virginia lawmakers. He says he hopes to find common ground on issues that have created tension between the two groups lately. It is a noble goal, but common ground has been difficult to come by for those folks in recent years — on any issue.

Still, it is encouraging to know Hardesty plans to try.

In speaking about his school board colleagues he said, “At the end of the day, we want one thing, and that’s the best educational opportunities for the children of West Virginia.” That is what most of us want, for all Mountain State kids. He seems determined. Here’s hoping he is successful in that regard.


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