(a) Findings. -- The Legislature finds that:
(1) West Virginia has long been recognized for its high quality teacher preparation program as a national center for teacher excellence;
(2) Teaching education candidates from higher education institutions in this state have proven to be highly marketable nationwide due to the reputation this state has earned in producing outstanding teacher education graduates; and
(3) West Virginia should utilize its reputation for exceptional achievement in this area by promoting our program to prospective students in teacher education programs to attract graduates nationwide for teaching positions in this state.
(b) Intent. -- It is the intent of the Legislature:
(1) To create a permanent institute which, as an organized activity and on a continuous basis, will encourage and promote excellence and public awareness of the quality teacher preparation programs in our state;
(2) To honor excellence in education, recognize exemplary teacher education graduates throughout the state and the nation, and recruit and supply for our public schools highly qualified teachers.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the following words have the meanings ascribed to them:
(1) "Board" means the board of the institute as established by this section;
(2) "Chancellor" means the chief executive officer of the Higher Education Policy Commission;
(3) "Institute" means the national institute for teaching excellence established by this section;
(4) "Secretary" means the secretary of the Department of Education and the arts; and
(5) "Superintendent" means the State Superintendent of Schools.
(d) There is hereby established within the office of the secretary the national institute for teaching excellence. The institute shall be implemented by the secretary with the assistance of the superintendent and the chancellor.
(e) There is established the board of the institute which has the responsibility for developing, overseeing and implementing the operations of the institute. The board shall consist of seven members selected as follows:
(1) The secretary or a designee;
(2) The superintendent or a designee;
(3) The chancellor or a designee;
(4) One certified teacher, selected by the state board; and
(5) Three members selected by the secretary representing West Virginia higher education institutions with approved teacher education programs. Of the three members selected by the secretary, one shall represent a state university, one shall represent a public college, and one shall represent a private college.
(f) Members of the board serve terms of two years each and, at the expiration of their terms, may continue to serve until their respective successors are appointed. The secretary shall appoint a chairperson for the board from among the members thereof for a term of two years. The chairperson may continue to serve until his or her successor is appointed.
(g) The board has the following powers and duties:
(1) To design and develop the institute;
(2) To select annually a university or college within the state to host the institute;
(3) To establish the application process, criteria and qualifications, and annually to make the final selection of two recent education graduates from each state to attend the institute academy;
(4) To solicit, accept and expend for the purposes of this section any contribution, grant or appropriation from any source, and to pursue aggressively any federal or private funding available for these purposes;
(5) To perform such other duties as considered necessary to carry out the purposes of this section;
(6) To report by November 1, 2001, and annually thereafter, to the Legislative Oversight commission on education accountability on the progress of the institute. The initial report shall contain at least the following information:
(i) A design for administering a collaborative effort on the part of West Virginia colleges and universities with an approved teacher education program to provide a week-long summer academy for recent teacher education graduates nationwide;
(ii) Provisions, including appropriate sources of funds, for the institute to man an office throughout the year for the purpose of publishing materials, pursuing grant moneys, conducting research and providing data on excellence in teacher education; and
(iii) Provision for developing a certificate of recognition to be presented to each participant upon completion of the academy.
(h) Nothing in this section requires any level of funding by the Legislature or requires the board to implement the provisions of this section unless federal funds and/or private moneys have been secured for that purpose.