Retiring Monongalia County school superintendent could stay in role temporarily

MORGANTOWN — The search for a new superintendent of schools in Monongalia County could get a little complicated if a successor to Frank Devono is not in place by June 1, according to Board of Education President Dr. Barbara Parsons.

“If there’s no one … if we aren’t able to select anyone, then there will be someone appointed in the interim,” Parsons said. “And they will be in a temporary position, whether it is someone who is in-house now or whether it would be Frank staying — extending his opportunity in employment.”

Devono announced his retirement late last month after 13 years as superintendent.

“Frank Devono was able to look forward in a community that’s growing and look at what the needs were that needed to be met,” Parsons said. “And that meant physical facilities, that meant curriculum, it meant employment of teachers, and developing courses that meet the needs of today’s potential work force, especially the students.”
June 1 is the deadline if the Board of Education wants to be able to offer a multi-year deal to Devono’s successor. If no one is in place by that time, any offer could only be for one year.

That, Parsons said, won’t put any added pressure on the board of education to speed up the search.

“It’s a hard deadline for a multi-year contract, and that’s state code,” she said. “So, we don’t have a choice on that. After that, it would be a year. And, after June 30, it would be temporary. It would only be a year. We’re not letting that determine our final decision.”
Parsons said it would be preferable to make a hire before the deadline, since a multi-year contract is considered preferable for candidates who may be relocating their families.
This isn’t unfamiliar territory though. Parsons said in 2005 the same scenario presented itself when Devono was hired.

“That happened with Frank Devono. He was offered a one-year contract. And some people would obviously see that as risky because you have the potential to move your family. And those are all unsettling things if you are not expected to have a longer term contract. But Frank took the risk.
“It worked out very well,” she added.

Parsons said both the board of education and Devono are open to him remaining on an interim basis until a successor has been found.