PARKERSBURG - Wood County Schools' new superintendent is hard at work learning the job and plotting a course for the district.
Pat Law took the reins of Wood County Schools in July 2010 as part of a two-year contract, replacing retiring Superintendent Bill Niday.
Law previously had worked as superintendent of Pocahontas County and as assistant superintendent at Kanawha County. He said the leap from the relatively small Pocahontas County to the top job in Wood County, the third largest school system in the state, was at times daunting.
Pat Law became superintendent for Wood County Schools in July, replacing Superintendent Bill Niday.
"It is a big system and requires a lot of teamwork to run," he said. "I think the experience I've had in Kanawha County will be helpful. I would have hated to never have had the opportunity to work in a larger school system and then come to a large school system like Wood County."
When Law began his main goals were simple: Learn the system, reorganize the central office and connect with community and staff.
In June more than half the district's central office staff retired. Law used the opportunity to reorganize how different departments within the school system operated, having a set core of directors answering to the superintendent rather than to assistant superintendents.
Law's reorganization of the central office reduced the number of assistant superintendents from three to two, putting Sue Woodward into the role of the renamed assistant superintendent of school services. Law eliminated the position of assistant superintendent of curriculum, instead creating a director of curriculum position. Judy Johnson took the reins of the curriculum department in that role, but held onto the English language arts coordinator position as well, directly overseeing that portion of the county's curriculum.
So far the county spokesperson position, formerly held by Woodward, has not been filled.
The Wood County Board of Education has not publicly announced Law's goals for the year, but during his first six months Law has spoken to district administrators about having greater visibility in area schools and concentrating on raising academic achievement.
Part of that process might involve a program called AdvancED, a district-wide form of accreditation. Woodward said the program requires years of work, constant monitoring and continual self-assessment.
"It is a very involved process," she said. "I know that is one of Dr. Law's top goals for the future."