CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Charles Heinlein will head West Virginia's public school system until the state superintendent's position is permanently filled.
The state Board of Education named Heinlein as superintendent on Tuesday. But the appointment is short term. Heinlein will return to his current position as deputy superintendent after the board hires someone to replace Jim Phares, who will retire June 30, media outlets reported.
State law does not allow the appointment of an interim superintendent.
Heinlein will take over the job on July 1 and will be paid $165,000. He also served as a short-term superintendent after the board fired former Superintendent Jorea Marple in 2012.
The board interviewed three finalists for the permanent position on Tuesday but did not release their names. The board said each candidate had requested confidentiality.
"It was entirely different when it was more local. Then, obviously, it was very difficult for anyone here in West Virginia to apply for a job without people knowing about it and it wasn't a problem for them. But this was very different, and this is not uncommon," board President Gayle Manchin said. "I just think in West Virginia it has been an oddity because it was never done that way before. To bring that caliber of candidates and people to West Virginia just makes me very proud."
She said each candidate has a "wealth of experience and expertise." She would not say whether any of them are from West Virginia or have served as state superintendents elsewhere.
"We had an exciting day. We interviewed three wonderful candidates. I'm so proud of the quality and caliber of the candidates that we have come down through the process," Manchin said.
She said there is no timetable to choose a candidate.
The board hired Iowa-based Ray and Associates in April to conduct a national search.