The Putnam County Board of Education voted Monday night, in a voice vote with no nays heard, to hire away the new principal of Kanawha County’s South Charleston High to lead Putnam’s Hurricane High, according to Putnam school board President Rob Cunningham.
Paul “P.E.” McClanahan’s start date at Hurricane High hasn’t yet been determined because “Kanawha County is not going to let him out of his contract until his position in Kanawha County is filled,” Cunningham said. Cunningham said he didn’t know when that would happen.
“I would assume sooner rather than later,” he said. “I can’t imagine South Charleston not being a much-sought-after position.”
Jim Crawford, vice principal at George Washington High and son of the former Kanawha County Board of Education president, also applied for the South Charleston principal position. But the elder Crawford, who is still on the school board as a regular member, said his son withdrew his application before McClanahan was hired.
The elder Crawford and Kanawha’s human resources executive director both said they’d heard the younger Crawford would be recommended over McClanahan and the other applicants for the position. The younger Crawford withdrew his application after the Gazette-Mail reported he was expected to be the new South Charleston principal.
McClanahan will replace Richard Campbell, who retired as Hurricane High’s principal on Sept. 21, according to Putnam school system spokeswoman Micah Osborne. Cunningham said Doug Cross, who works in the Putnam school system’s central office overseeing high school curriculum, is leading Hurricane temporarily.
McClanahan, of Nitro, previously said he began working in education in 2003 at Putnam County’s Poca High, where he taught mostly history and a little bit of English. He said he also coached baseball for five years there.
He said he became Sissonville Middle’s curriculum assistant principal in 2010 and one of two St. Albans High discipline assistant principals in 2012. He spent the past two school years as St. Albans High’s curriculum assistant principal before assuming the South Charleston High principal position.
“South Charleston, I think it has a strong community background from both the Dunbar and South Charleston communities,” he said, when previously asked why he applied for the South Charleston role. He said there’s a “nice blend of community support for academics and athletics.”
He didn’t respond to requests for comment last week on why he applied to the Hurricane High position.
Briana Warner, Kanawha’s communications director, wrote in an email that McClanahan currently makes $82,452 annually.
Osborne, when asked last week, didn’t provide McClanahan’s proposed Hurricane High salary. Cunningham didn’t immediately know McClanahan’s starting salary Monday night.
“I’m glad he applied and we were able to hire him,” Cunningham said. “Mr. McClanahan is a quality individual. I’m very excited for what he’s going to be able to do for Putnam County Schools.”
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