State school board elects new leaders

By Samuel Speciale, Capitol reporter

Mike Green

The West Virginia Board of Education elected new officials Thursday ahead of President Gayle Manchin’s term expiration in November.

Mike Green, a Republican from Monongalia County, will become the school board’s new president after serving two years as Manchin’s vice president. The board also voted to make Lloyd Jackson, a Democrat from Lincoln County, its next vice president, and opted to retain Tina Combs, a Republican from Berkeley County, as its secretary.

The election came after an hour-long closed doors session, which led one member to vote “no” in protest.

Despite being the only member to vote against the nomination, Bill White said he would cooperate with the board’s new leadership.

Green will follow Manchin’s two-year tenure as president, something he said will be difficult to replicate.

“I accept this position with great humility,” he said Thursday at the close of the board’s monthly meeting.

Green, who was appointed to the board in 2009 by then-Gov. Joe Manchin, has been vice president since 2013.

While Manchin will end her duties as president this month, she will retain her seat until November when her nine-year term expires.

She said she already has a list of people interested in filling her seat that she will deliver to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who makes appointments to the board.

In recent years, Tomblin has had difficulty filling vacant school board seats, with some remaining open for years at a time.

Manchin said she hopes that won’t be the case when she leaves in November, though she’s agreed to remain involved if needed.

School board members serve nine-year terms. While the board is non-partisan, a Republican-Democrat balance is maintained, which means a Democrat must replace Manchin. Her successor must also come from West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Board members receive a per-diem to attend school board meetings, but they are not paid a salary.

Manchin was appointed to the board in 2007 by her husband, who now serves as West Virginia’s senior U.S. senator. The controversial move was met with cries of nepotism, something Manchin said was difficult to overcome at first, but ultimately her experience was rewarding.

Contact writer Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-7939. Follow him at www.twitter.com/samueljspeciale.