WAYNE - Former West Virginia schools superintendent Steven Paine will become interim superintendent of Wayne County Schools after the retirement of the county's current school chief, Sandra Pertee.

The Wayne County Board of Education chose Paine at a special meeting Monday night, less than two weeks after Pertee announced her plans to retire. Paine, who held the title as the state's chief educator from July 2005 to January 2011, will start his new role on Feb. 1, 2017.

Board president Trey Morrone said he was really enthused with Paine's selection.

"The members of the board and myself are excited to announce that someone with his success in leadership is coming to navigate a course of academic excellence for our students and educators," Morrone said Tuesday.

Under Paine's leadership, West Virginia was internationally and nationally recognized for its 21st century learning program "Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it."

He joined the West Virginia Department of Education in 2003 as the deputy state superintendent of schools after serving as superintendent of Morgan County Schools in West Virginia. He has also served as principal, assistant principal, teacher and curriculum director in the Upshur and Harrison county school systems. As a result of his work as principal, he was named a recipient of the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

Paine earned his undergraduate degree from Fairmont State University. He received his master's degree from West Virginia University in educational administration and his doctorate in educational leadership and curriculum and instruction.

Pertee also praised Paine's selection to take her place.

She said he brings expertise and leadership from international to local education experiences that carry a lot of weight in his choice as her replacement.

"He comes in as a fresh face and mind. I think that if people give him a chance, he will be an answered prayer for the school system and for those who want the best there can be in the office," Pertee said.

There had been expressed interest from current in-county administration to take on the position. Pertee said that Paine's choice should not discourage them, but rather take a positive look at the choice.

"Others that pursued this are quality people and at some point if they continue to strive - their opportunity will come," Pertee said. "At this point, though, the BOE felt this was the person Wayne County needed."

The WCBOE has until June 1 to name a permanent successor for Pertee. Paine, if not named as the permanent successor, will serve as interim superintendent until July 1, 2017.

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