An educator at heart, Carolyn Long has spent her career serving as a teacher and administrator in the West Virginia public school and higher education systems. She was the first female board chair of the West Virginia University Board of Governors and the first female county superintendent for Braxton County Schools. She served as the campus president at West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Long received her Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Fairmont State College in 1970, after which she worked as a fifth-grade teacher at Big Chimney Elementary School in Charleston, West Virginia, for five years. She accepted a position as a Title 1 Teacher at Little Birch Elementary in 1975, where she taught for six years. As the mother of a young son, she accepted a position as a bookkeeper and began working towards her master’s degree, which she received in educational administration from the West Virginia University College of Graduate Studies in 1986.
She returned to Little Birch Elementary in 1986 as the principal. During her ten years of service, Little Birch consistently achieved the highest county test scores despite having the highest number of students receiving free and reduced lunches and maintained a 96 percent attendance rating. By 1996, Little Birch had received more commendations from the State Department of Education On-Site Accreditation than any other school in the county.
In 2001, she became superintendent of Braxton County Schools. During her eight-year tenure she balanced the school system’s budget and received more than $12 million in grants from the SBA. She led the successful efforts of the County Board of Education in passing a $17 million bond to bring all of the existing elementary schools up to state code and complete renovations to Braxton County High School among other building projects.
Long accepted a position on the West Virginia University Board of Governors in 2007 and served as the chair from 2008 to 2011. In December 2011, she agreed to lead WVU Tech during a time of revitalization and transition. Under her leadership, and with the assistance of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, W V U and the State Legislature, WVU Tech made tremendous progress.
In 2017, she oversaw the successful completion of the transition of WVU Tech from its former home in Montgomery to its new campus in Beckley. Under her leadership, the institution moved its more than 30 academic programs to the new campus while increasing enrollment to more than 1,600 students, marking the highest enrollment in nearly a decade.
Long returned to WVU Tech in 2019 as the campus president after serving as the interim chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission in 2018 to 2019. Long retired as the campus president of WVU Tech on December 31, 2022.