West Virginia Schools Chief Looks Forward To Retirement

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Retiring state schools Superintendent James Phares says he viewed his brief stint as an opportunity to help make a difference in West Virginia's education system.

Phares is stepping down on June 30 after 18 months on the job. He says that was set long ago as the day he'd walk with his wife into retirement.

Phares was Randolph County's schools superintendent when he was hired to replace the fired Jorea Marple.

His task was to help the state school board's response to a sweeping audit that found the education system lagging in student achievement and weighed down by state-level staffers and policies made inflexible by laws.

In an interview with The Associated Press today, Phares said he hopes he helped "raise the bar" in the education system.