MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. May primary voters in Monongalia County will have three choices in the race for the Board of Education on Tuesday.

Each candidate has children in the school system and includes one incumbent, BOE President Ron Lytle; Christina Fattore Morgan, a WVU professor; and industrial engineer Shawn Smith.

The district remains one of the top-performing districts in the state while continuing to battle some post-pandemic learning recovery, the introduction of charter schools, and a debate over the future of learning in the county.

Voters are being asked to approve a $142.6 million bond call for a state-of-the-art comprehensive high school that would focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and vocational education. If approved, the center could begin serving up to 1,500 county students in 2027.

Fattore Morgan, a first-time candidate for office, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics. She wants the data developed from clinical interviews with teachers to be a major driver of policy.

“What are these needs, truly?” Fattore Morgan asked. “So, if we are able to do that in a research-based way, I think we can have better input from our teachers.”

Being a parent, Smith wants to use his leadership to improve the level of academic performance in the district and have input on district operations rather than sit back and allow someone else to run.

“I’m open to new ideas, and I’m open to change. We don’t want to get behind; we’re in a good spot in the state of West Virginia, but compared to the nation, where do we stand? In the country, where do we stand?” Smith asked. “I’m always a fan of learning differently, evolving, and engaging our kids.”

As a member of the BOE since 2012, Lytle plans to use his knowledge and energy to listen and take action to support the work of educators.

“I am absolutely open to conversations with the professionals in our classrooms; I have constant communication,” Lytle said. “I constantly ask the question,”What can we do to make your experience as a teacher better?”

The polls are open in Monongalia County Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.