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State BOE names SBA’s Roach as new state super of schools

CHARLESTON — The state Board of Education Wednesday chose state School Building Authority Executive Director David Roach as the next state superintendent of schools.

Roach replaces Clayton Burch who, at his request, is being transferred to be the superintendent for the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney.

Both moves took effect Wednesday.

Roach will be paid $230,000 per state statute.

State Board President Paul Hardesty said the state BOE chose to make a quick but solid decision on Burch’s replacement. He said Roach is a top-flight educator.

“Look at the gentleman’s qualifications, first and foremost, and see if this board made a prudent, wise decision. His qualifications are impeccable. They are second to no one and he can hit the ground running,” Hardesty said.

Roach has served as superintendent in past years in Cabell, Wayne, Mingo and Lincoln counties.

Hardesty said the board was dealing with the cards it was dealt by Burch’s surprise decision to seek a transfer.

“We played our cards. We played them the best way we know how because at the end of the day the eight of you want the same thing — what’s best for the children of West Virginia, nothing more, nothing less,” Hardesty said.

Several board members, including Debra Sullivan, praised the selection. She said she’s watched Roach’s work at the SBA and how he has brought the staff together.

“He’s a very capable, creative-thinking type of guy. He’s intelligent and he has a real passion, a real deep compassion for the children of this state” Sullivan said.

Board member Miller Hall said he’s also been impressed with Roach’s performance in his latest role.

“He’s a team player. He’s a tremendous communicator. He keeps us updated on everything that’s going on with the SBA, no matter how small or how large,” Hall said.

Earlier Wednesday, the board approved Burch’s transfer request following a 20-minute executive session.

Burch will be paid $142,327 a year in his new position. It’s a pay cut from the state school chief salary of $230,000.

Burch said his decision was based on personal reasons and on his growing interest over the last few years with what’s been happening at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Hardesty said Burch’s decision is based in part on his aging parents.

“Clayton’s heart’s in the right place, he wants what’s best for his parents. There’s a lot of factors that came into play,” Hardesty said. “I know that deep down that Clayton has a real passion for the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.”

Burch has made several visits to the schools in recent months connected to both promised education improvements with the appointment of an intervention team at the school 2021 and facility improvements following a February fire that destroyed an historic building on campus.