CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the two state board of education members who vowed to leave their post following the firing of then-superintendent Jorea Marple has resigned.
Jenny Phillips faxed her letter of resignation to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office Thursday, she said in a phone conversation Friday.
"I've spent a lot of years on the board and it was not an easy thing to do," Phillips said. "But in the meantime, I really felt that I had made a commitment and that I should stand behind my commitment."
The board voted 5-2 to fire Marple in a surprise move during a November meeting. The item was not listed on the agenda and the superintendent said she was shocked, a feeling echoed by others in the education community.
Immediately following the vote, Phillips and her fellow board member Priscilla Haden - who both voted against the termination -- announced they would resign in protest.
Phillips cited Marple's firing multiple times in the four-paragraph letter she sent the governor.
"Whatever the true reason for their action I may never know, but their action displayed a lack of caring or consideration for Dr. Marple," Phillips wrote.
"She had devoted her life to education and with an illegal action destroyed any further achievement she may have made for children."
Almost immediately after Marple's termination, calls arose for more transparency from the board. Claims were made that members had fired Marple illegally.
Charleston-based public interest law firm Mountain State Justice, on behalf of parents of a Boone County student, filed suit with the state Supreme Court alleging the board knowingly violated the Open Meetings Act with its decision.
The board met again two weeks later, ultimately deciding to fire Marple again. Attorneys for the board don't believe the board did anything illegal in the first place, but if others perceived that it did, the second meeting cleared it of any wrongdoing.
A decision on the matter from the Supreme Court isn't expected until January, board president Wade Linger said during the board's meeting in December.
During that same meeting in late November, the board voted to hire Jim Phares as Marple's replacement. He worked for several years as the superintendent of schools in Randolph County and was nominated by Linger for the superintendent's position the same day Marple was fired.