June 18, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will give greater focus to its continuum of educator supports as part of its new Office of Educator Development and Support (OEDS), Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch announced today. The office will work closely with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to address the need for high-quality educators in the classroom.

The teaching profession has changed significantly over the past 10 years, and increased and sustained levels of support are required for teacher success. Educators are among the only professionals who are expected to step into their careers on day-one and produce outcomes that match those of career veterans. Today’s teachers must be effective classroom practitioners who can also address the social-emotional needs of the whole child. The lack of support and the scale of challenges lead many of them to exit the profession within their first five years of teaching.

The Office of Educator Development and Support will serve as a liaison with HEPC and university teacher-preparation programs to recruit candidates to pursue teaching degrees; support pre-service teachers as they transition into the profession; align professional growth and development pathways with teacher goals; and to assist teachers in the pursuit of higher-level credentials that impact student learning. It will also support counties as they develop mentor and induction programs.

“Teaching is one of the most important professions because of the lives it shapes, and the impact education has on individual and community progress, as well as state and national economic development,” said Superintendent Burch. “Today more than ever before, we are required to have a robust continuum of support for our educators that allows them to develop into strong classroom teachers and instructional leaders. Our ultimate goal must be to have the best corps of teachers that will produce West Virginia’s next generation of scholars, skilled workers and enlistees.”

Carla Warren, Ed.D., will serve as director of the new office. She brings 15 years of teacher development expertise, and 20 years of teaching experience to the position. Warren is a National Board Certified (NBC) teacher and previously guided the state’s NBC and mentor and induction programs. “Teaching is a practice–based profession that requires experience that leads to mastery,” Warren said. “Without solid support structures around our upcoming teachers, we will continue to see them leave the field. We must assist them to transition into the profession and to develop the level of classroom strategy and skill that will lead to success.”