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Harrison County expected to name Manchin as schools chief

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia School Building Authority executive director Mark Manchin says he plans to step down to become Harrison County’s school superintendent.

The county Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to vote on a proposed contract. School board president David Sturm tells media outlets that he expects the board to approve the contract.

Manchin tells media outlets that he will accept the job if it’s offered.

The Marion County native said the move would put him closer to his mother, who lives in Fairmont, and to an aunt and several cousins who live in Harrison County.

“After discussion with my wife and some of my family we decided that perhaps this is a move we need to make,” he said.

Manchin said he would take over in Harrison County in early June because he still has commitments at the SBA, including the next round of funding for school construction projects in March.

“We still have to do what the governor has approved us to do. … We still have $55 million worth of bonds yet to sell,” he said. “So, certainly, over the next couple of months, we’ll be working with the Legislature and counties around the state who want to build new schools. I feel committed to doing that.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. We’ve built safer schools, greener schools — schools of the future. This is a good job. You get to travel around the state and hand out money,” Manchin said.

Manchin would replace Susan Collins as Harrison County’s superintendent. The board voted 4-1 last week to not renew Collins’ contract.

Sturm said the board members who supported the move agreed that the school system needs “to move in a new direction.”

“And part of that was increase communication,” he said. “We were looking for someone who had great communication skills, who could connect our education system with the general public.”

Sturm said he approached Manchin about the job. He saidd Manchin has “the ability to unite people and get them heading in the right direction.”

Manchin has served as the SBA’s executive director since 2006. He previously served as the state-appointed superintendent of McDowell County Schools and as Webster County’s superintendent.

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