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WVU and Benedum Foundation partner to form a research and outreach center to support the WVPEC, tap Donna Peduto as executive director

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Donna Peduto.
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Donna Hoylman Peduto, an experienced educator and long-time expert in educational policy in West Virginia, has been named executive director of the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative. The WVPEC was convened three years ago by WVU President Gordon Gee and Dr. Suzanne Shipley, then president of Shepherd University. Peduto’s first move is to provide support for the WVPEC, made possible by a new partnership between West Virginia University and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

First convened in 2015 with 11 members, including Peduto and WVU College of Education and Human Services Dean Gypsy Denzine as co-chairs, the WVPEC has already proven to be a nimble and effective entity working to improve public education at all levels in the state. The group took the lead on Academic Spotlight, a statewide survey of educational standards conducted in 2015, and held its first annual Legislators’ Forum on Education and the Economy this past January.

Until now, however, the WVPEC has done all its work without formal infrastructure, relying on staffing support from WVU. With the new partnership, the Benedum Foundation and WVU have committed to providing a solid foundation from which the WVPEC can increase its impact on public education in the state.

According to WVU Provost Joyce McConnell, Peduto was a natural choice for the role of WVPEC executive director. “Donna is passionately committed to making public education great in West Virginia,” McConnell said. “Moreover, she understands that education begins in early childhood and never really ends, that a good public educational system fosters lifelong learning in all our citizens.”

Peduto most recently served as director of operation for the West Virginia State Board of Education. She has led multiple educational research, technology-based, and personalized learning initiatives and has more than 20 years of public school teaching experience herself.

“I am honored to be working in this new capacity with the WVPEC,” Peduto said. “We’ve already accomplished a great deal in a short time. Going forward, we have vision, energy and an extraordinary breadth of expertise across our membership. I am excited to execute new projects in service of excellent public education in West Virginia.”

In concert with Peduto’s appointment as executive director, McConnell also asked West Virginia Secretary for Education and the Arts Gayle Manchin to serve as chair and expanded the membership to 20, with experts in areas from rural education to next generation high schools coming from across the state as well as from Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.

The WVPEC has already begun planning another Legislators’ Forum on Education and the Economy, to be held November 2 in conjunction with the Education Alliance’s Annual Summit on November 1.

“We had a very positive response from Legislators after our last Summit,” Peduto said. “They are eager to know more about the innovations and best practices in public education that they can help bring to their districts and we are delighted to be able to offer them another opportunity to focus on these issues.”



CONTACT: Ann Claycomb; Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Academic Communication

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