CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed outgoing Greenbrier County legislator Tom Campbell as the newest member of the state Board of Education. The governor made the announcement Monday afternoon.
"I've worked with Tom for many years, and I'm pleased he will be joining the state Board of Education," Tomblin said in a news release. "I am confident, with his vast knowledge and experience, Tom will be a tremendous asset to our State Board."
Campbell, 51 and a Democrat, has served 16 years in the House of Delegates but decided not to run for re-election this year. He said he is excited to step into his new spot on the board.
"I think it's a critical time in the state right now to take a real good look at our education system," Campbell said in a phone interview.
"And I think that's all the way to pre-K and ... college as well, to make sure our students have the best chance they can to be successful for life."
Campbell is currently vice chairman of the House Finance Committee, but he chaired the education committee in 2005 and 2006. He also has helped represent West Virginia on the Southern Regional Education Board since 2005.
"I've been looking at education one way or another for 16 years," Campbell said.
In November the state Board of Education fired Superintendent Jorea Marple in a surprise action that wasn't placed on a public agenda in advance of the meeting.The move drew criticism and legal questions, and the board eventually decided to meet and fire her again.
Board members also recently issued a response to a massive audit of the state education system. The audit recommends more than 50 measures the auditors believe could save the state millions while helping the system run more effectively and efficiently.
Campbell said he knew only what he had read in media accounts of recent board action. He did say the new position would be challenging.
"I'm not going to focus on whatever the board has been doing the past few weeks," Campbell said. "We just don't have enough young people in West Virginia getting what they need to be successful. That's my focus."