BETHANY, W.Va. — The White House recently announced Bethany College Trustee Gayle Connelly Manchin as President Joe Biden’s intended nomination for federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Gayle ManchinA longtime educator, Manchin worked in Marion County Schools and was director of the Community Service Learning Program at Fairmont State University, where she also served on the faculty.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC, is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments across the Appalachian Region. Appalachia covers more than 400 counties across 13 states, including all of West Virginia.

Manchin, who is married to Sen. Joe Manchin III (D., W.Va.), was West Virginia’s first lady from 2005 to 2010.

She also led the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in West Virginia, implemented that statewide West Virginia Partnerships to Assure Student Success, and served as cabinet secretary for the West Virginia Office of Education and the Arts.

Manchin is a former member and president of the West Virginia State Board of Education and an emeritus member of the Education Alliance.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Education and her Master of Arts in Reading from West Virginia University. She also received a master’s specialization in Education Technology Leadership from Salem International University.

Manchin would replace federal co-chair Tim Thomas who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2018. The position requires Senate confirmation.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.