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Clayton Burch To Serve As New Superintendent Of W.Va. Schools For Deaf, Blind

Clayton Burch - November 2021.jpg
Will Price
/
WV Legislative Photography
West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch speaks to the Joint Education Committee on Nov. 15, 2021.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch is now the new superintendent of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, after stepping aside as the chief of the state school system.

At the August meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education, board members, including newly appointed Board President Paul Hardesty, voted unanimously to approve Burch’s request to become the new superintendent of the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in Romney.

There was no discussion following the vote.

Burch released a statement, however, later in the day, outlining his 13 years working in the Department of Education, his more than two years as state superintendent, and a vision for the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind:

“One project stands out as especially dear to me. The students of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (WVSDB) and the work of that venerable institution are always at the forefront of my mind. I have developed a special connection with the school. From the beginning of my administration until this very moment, I have made the WVSDB a priority. My team and I have been a consistent presence on campus to work through the challenges that exist – from facilities to services and instruction and more, we continue to give the WVSDB a level of support it has not had in many years.

I have a vision of what the WVSDB can become as a resource to serve children and families of our state, region, and beyond. All of the foundational elements have been laid, but they need the commitment of a full-time leader and visionary to solidify the work and see it to completion. I believe that the totality of my career, and my close ties to the Hampshire County community, including my personal residence there, have made me uniquely qualified to lead the school into the future.”

Burch’s full statement can be read on the West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDE) website.

Burch will receive an annual salary of more than $142,000 in the new role, which is a pay cut from his current salary at around $230,000.

Last year, the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind came under scrutiny for several areas of non-compliance, including student care, instruction, and finances. Burch has been a longtime advocate for improving the schools.

In February, a historic administrative building on the campus was destroyed in a fire. While the building was unoccupied, it housed the technology servers that powered the campus internet, phones and surveillance system.

Burch and other state officials traveled to the site and worked, with support from Gov. Jim Justice and Frontier Communications, to get a temporary fix in place so students could continue with classroom instruction.

Burch has served as West Virginia Superintendent of Schools since February 2020.

David Roach, executive director of the West Virginia School Building Authority, will take on the state superintendent role. No plans for a superintendent search were announced.

In a news release from the WVDE, Roach said he is honored to be the next state superintendent.

"I want to thank President Hardesty and the board members for their confidence in me,” Roach said. “I look forward to working with him, the board, and the staff at the West Virginia Department of Education. With the exception of student safety, student achievement has always been at the forefront of every position I have held. As a lifelong educator, I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to starting this new position.”

Roach is a graduate of Marshall University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Master of Administration in School Administration.

He will be the 33rd West Virginia Superintendent of Schools.

Webmaster/Eastern Panhandle Bureau Chief/Part-time Education Reporter/Producer, emccormick@wvpublic.org, 304-876-9313, @LizMcCormickWV

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