Marion County School Board: 'Hage has exceeded expectations'

·2 min read

Jan. 14—FAIRMONT — The unanimous opinion of the Marion County School Board is that School Superintendent Donna Hage has exceeded their expectations.

Thursday afternoon, the board met for an executive session to evaluate Hage's performance. Each year, as contact renewal season approaches, the board conduct an evaluation of the progress made by the superintendent.

Hage was hired in July 2021 and has made positive waves in the last six months across the school district. From her pushes to create an active presence for the district on social media to her transparency about the COVID-19 in the schools, the community has voiced its support for Hage and her work.

Thursday it was the board's turn to look at the data and decide if Hage has met the standards that were laid out when she was hired.

"She gave [the board] a presentation breaking down the goals we had mutually set," Board President Mary Jo Thomas said. "It was our unanimous assessment that she's exceeded expectations."

In June, the school board went on the search for a new superintendent after Hage's predecessor, Randy Farley, decided to retire after 40 years of service to Marion County Schools. Farley served two years as superintendent.

The board was divided on its choices for the new superintendent and it came to a head during a heated school board meeting in June where board members exchanged yells and shouts, chiefly board members James Saunders and Donna Costello.

The argument ended with a split vote of 3-2, resulting in the hiring of Hage.

Now, Thomas said that the entire board has come together to say that Hage has been an outstanding addition to Marion County.

Hage said that she is grateful for the opportunity to share her successes with the board.

"A person is always pleased to receive positive comments of their performance and today give me an opportunity to reflect on what we have done together over the past six months," Hage said. "I'm blessed to have the opportunity to serve Marion County Schools and continue to feel more passionately about that each day."

This evaluation was the start of the board's decision on whether or not to offer Hage a contract renewal. She was hired on a one-year contract in June 2021 and her current contract will expire June 30, 2022.

The board expects to have a decision regarding Hage's contract by March 1.

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at

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