CHARLESTON, W.Va. — New Kanawha County Board of Education member Kate White officially stepped into the former seat that had previously belonged to her husband Friday during an investiture ceremony.

The announcement was made earlier this week that Kate White had been appointed to the board, replacing her husband, Ryan White, a longtime member who resigned from the board to run for State Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Kate White was one of 16 applicants for the seat on the school board, and she said she got inspired to fill the position because she feels strongly about the future of education in the county.

“The main reason I applied is that I think education is one of the most important things we can do in the community and as a society to invest in our kids and our future, and I think I could bring a lot of qualifications to the board, and it’s something I care really passionately about,” she said.

Similar to her husband in having a legal background to bring to the table, Kate White has a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Juris Doctorate from WVU College of Law. She currently serves as an attorney in the community for a non-profit law firm.

White has three children that are enrolled in the Kanawha County school system and she also said she is passionate to serve on the board to help improve the local state of education for their sake.

She said the county’s school system has many challenges it faces that she would like to see improve during her time on the board, from declining school buildings that are in need of repairs and upgrades, to the declining student population, as well as the overall wellbeing of the students.

“I also know that students and families are facing a lot of challenges and coming to school with a lot of issues, so I just want to make sure that there’s a lot of great people here doing a lot of great work,” said Kate White. “We’re doing everything we can to meet kids where we are and help all kids move forward and succeed in school.”

Ryan White himself swore Kate in Friday during the ceremony. He said she is going to be a great addition to the board and that he is grateful they thought so much of her to ask her to fill in his former role.

“I’m glad that she can put her great many assets, talents, and contributions to this board, and work for the betterment of Kanawha County’s children,” he said.

Ryan White said his wife has been instrumental in helping the Kanawha County school system already.

He said she almost single-handedly got the funding and efforts needed in revitalizing the playground at Piedmont Elementary known as Celebration Station.

In addition, Ryan said she successfully worked with the state Department of Education to increase the number of programming for the Lawyer in the School program that offers on-site legal help to student families statewide.

“It started in Kanawha County and it has been replicated throughout the state, it has gotten national awards for that program,” said Ryan White. “I’m very proud of her and I think her talents will be best served on this board.”

Kate White will now serve on the school board through July 1, 2024 until a new member is elected to permanently fill the seat.