Ex-delegate named to state school board

CHARLESTON – A former member of the House of Delegates from Lewisburg has been tapped to join the nine-member West Virginia Board of Education.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Monday announced the appointment of Thomas W. Campbell to replace Lowell Johnson, whose term expired Nov. 4. Campbell’s appointment took effect Monday.

The state board has been in the news since Nov. 15 when members voted 5-2 to oust Superintendent Jorea Marple. Later, after protests from the public that Marple’s tenure wasn’t on the board’s published agenda as required by the state’s open meetings law, the board took another vote and fired Marple.

Johnson has said he would have voted to keep Marple.

Two other members of the board, Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips, have vowed to resign from the board in protest.

Some Eastern Panhandle leaders have called on Tomblin to fill those vacancies with appointees from the Eastern Panhandle. The state board has had no representative from the Eastern Panhandle since 2007.

In the months to come, a national search for Marple’s replacement will be conducted, according to Wade Linger, the state school board president.

“The education of our young people is essential to West Virginia’s future and remains one of my top priorities,” said Tomblin, who was Speaker of the House before becoming active governor when Joe Manchin won a special election to the U.S. Senate. “I’ve worked with Tom for many years, and I’m pleased he will be joining the state board of education. I am confident, with his vast knowledge and experience, Tom will be a tremendous asset to our State Board.”

Campbell attended West Virginia University and graduated summa cum laude in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He won election to the House in 1996 and retired earlier this year.

In the Legislature, he served as chairman of the House Education Committee from 2005-2006 and previously served on the House Finance Committee’s education subcommittee. Campbell also represents West Virginia on the Southern Regional Education Board. He is a 15-year veteran of the Read Aloud West Virginia program at Ronceverte Elementary School.

Campbell is married to the Rev. Dr. Susan Sharp Campbell.

Appointees to the state school board serve nine-year terms.

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