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Justice names acting Secretary for Education and Arts

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice has moved swiftly to name an acting Secretary for Education and the Arts after the resignation of Gayle Manchin two days ago.

Justice, shortly after noon today, named Clayton Burch, who has been a top official within the state Department of Education.

This all comes as Justice weighs whether to sign a bill that would dissolve the Department of Education and the Arts and move its programs to other state agencies, including the Department of Education.

It’s all become complicated and inter-twined, but Justice’s announcement was only two sentences:

“Governor Jim Justice has appointed W. Clayton Burch as Acting Secretary for the Department of Education and the Arts.

“Burch has been serving as Associate State Superintendent of Schools. His appointment is effective today, Wednesday, March 14, 2018.”

Burch most recently has been state Associate Superintendent of Schools, serving as the No. 2 to state Superintendent Steve Paine.

Before that, he served as the head of the Division of Teaching and Learning.

Burch was at a state Board of Education meeting this afternoon and took a moment to discuss his new role. He said the first priority is calming the waters at Education and the Arts.

“Number one priority is, I’m also the deputy state superintendent of schools, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head is calming waters and assuring everybody that each and every agency is our most valuable — and top priority is making sure that each of them are given a thorough and efficient evaluation.”

Burch previously directed the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning, which focused on pre-K through 5th grade instruction and learning, as well as the implementation of the state’s Universal Pre-K program.

His work has included community collaboration efforts, continuous quality improvement projects, school readiness initiatives and professional development. Burch has served on numerous national advisory councils and is known as an expert in early childhood education.

~~  Brad McElhinny ~~

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