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Michael Martirano, superintendent of the St. Mary’s County public schools, is expected to become the state superintendent of West Virginia’s schools later this year.

The announcement, which came from the West Virginia Department of Education, was issued Wednesday evening.

Martirano told the St. Mary’s school board of his intentions Wednesday during a closed meeting, Brooke Matthews, school board vice chair, said Thursday morning.

Matthews said the news was bittersweet. “How proud are we that our superintendent is going to run the education system of West Virginia?” he said. “It’s the next step for a man of his caliber.”

Still, it will mean the St. Mary’s school board will have to act quickly to name an interim superintendent and begin a search for a new permanent superintendent, he said. Martirano’s contract calls for him to give 90-days notice if he leaves before the end of his contract, Matthews said. That would put Martirano’s last day in St. Mary’s near the end of September.

Martirano is expected to be officially approved as West Virginia’s new superintendent by the state board at a meeting on July 1, according to a statement from Gayle Manchin, West Virginia school board president.

He was selected through a months-long national search process that began with 248 candidates, eventually narrowed down to three finalists.

Martirano, now in his ninth year as St. Mary’s superintendent, is the longest-serving current superintendent in Maryland.