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The West Virginia Board of Education revealed its finalists for the state schools superintendent job Thursday evening, after apparently spending all day in closed-doors interviews with the three.

The state school board’s selection, according to Thursday’s news release, will be announced Wednesday.

The board may have already reached consensus on a pick — board President Dave Perry previously said the finalists wouldn’t be announced, if at all, until the next superintendent was chosen.

Among the finalists is Clayton Burch, who’s been serving as superintendent since Feb. 21. The board promoted him from deputy superintendent that day to, at least temporarily, replace Steve Paine.

The other two finalists — Blaine Hess, president of the county schools superintendents’ association for the state, and Kathy D’Antoni, the state’s top vocational education leader — were two of the three finalists the last time the board searched for a superintendent.

That search, in March 2017, ended with Paine being named to the position.

Thursday’s meeting was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Only interviews and a possible vote to hire a new superintendent were on the agenda.

Christy Day, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said the meeting ended shortly before 6:30 p.m. without such a vote.

But it’s unclear what exactly happened — notwithstanding the closed sessions the board said it would use for the interviews.

Day said “there were audio issues that prevented the audio stream from working properly.” This reporter couldn’t hear the meeting’s start or end.

Wednesday’s meeting starts at 10 a.m. and — again citing the pandemic — the board is barring the public and media and only offering an online audio livestream to listen to

You can email comments — including regarding whom board members should pick as superintendent, if they haven’t made up their minds yet — to

You can send written comments to:

West Virginia Board of Education

Capitol Building 6, Room 351

1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.

Charleston, WV 25305

Comments must be in by 4 p.m. Tuesday

When the board promoted Burch in February of this year, Paine had already announced he would be retiring and the board had already announced a search for a permanent new superintendent.

It continued that search.

Before becoming deputy superintendent, Burch had been, among other things, the education department’s chief academic officer. Outside of the education department, Gov. Jim Justice previously appointed Burch interim leader of the Department of Commerce and the since-disbanded Department of Education and the Arts.

Hess has been Jackson County’s superintendent since 2006. He currently leads the West Virginia Association of School Administrators, which represents county schools superintendents and others.

Before he became Jackson’s superintendent, Hess was in charge of that county’s high schools, had worked for that school system for 11 years and had spent time as band director of Kanawha County’s George Washington High.

Thursday’s news release said D’Antoni has worked at the state Department of Education since 2010. She’s now the associate superintendent over the education department’s Division of Technical and Adult Education, the release said.

Reach Ryan Quinn at,, 304-348-1254 or follow

@RyanEQuinn on Twitter.