(a) The commission is comprised of ten members, all of whom are entitled to vote. The membership of the commission is as follows:
(1) The Secretary of Education and the Arts, ex officio.
(2) The State Superintendent of Schools, ex officio;
(3) The chair of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, ex officio.
(4) Four at-large members who are citizens of the state, appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
(5) Three at-large members who are designated as higher education representatives, appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; for each of the higher education representatives, the Governor shall choose from recommendations made by any state college and university or exempted school and the Governor may request additional recommendations from state colleges and universities or exempted schools if in the governor in his or her sole discretion determines that additional recommendations are necessary for appointments to the commission.
(b) Each of the at-large members appointed by the Governor shall represent the public interest and shall be committed to the legislative intent and goals set forth in state law and policy.
(c) The Governor may not appoint any person to be a member of the commission who is an officer, employee or member of the council or an advisory board of any state college or university or exempted school; an officer or member of any political party executive committee; the holder of any other public office or public employment under the government of this state or any of its political subdivisions; an appointee or employee of any governing board; or an immediate family member of any employee under the jurisdiction of the commission, the council or any governing board.
(d) Of the seven, at-large members appointed by the Governor:
(1) No more than four may belong to the same political party;
(2) At least two shall be appointed from each congressional district; and
(3) Effective July 1, 2008, no more than one member may serve from the same county.
(e) The at-large members appointed by the Governor serve overlapping terms of four years.
(f) The Governor shall appoint a member to fill any vacancy among the seven at-large members, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy serves for the unexpired term of the vacating member. The Governor shall fill the vacancy within thirty days of the occurrence of the vacancy.
(g) An at-large member appointed by the Governor may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
(h) Before exercising any authority or performing any duties as a member of the commission, each member shall qualify as such by taking and subscribing to the oath of office prescribed by section five, article IV of the Constitution of West Virginia and the certificate thereof shall be filed with the Secretary of State.
(i) A member of the commission appointed by the Governor may not be removed from office by the Governor except for official misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty or gross immorality and then only in the manner prescribed by law for the removal of the state elective officers by the Governor.