The search is on for a new superintendent of Richmond Public Schools. Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Yvonne Brandon confirmed a story NBC12 first broke that morning. She is stepping down from her post at the end of the school year.
Sources say there are multiple factors in this decision, but the main straw that broke the proverbial camel's back is the newly elected school board and its desire to change the way things had been done in Richmond.
After five years leading RPS, Dr. Brandon and School Board Chairman Jeff Bourne call the decision to step down "a mutual agreement."
"My departure will be bittersweet and bittersweet it has been to share this news with staff today," Dr. Brandon told a room filled with central office employees.
While the entire board stood with Brandon at Tuesday's press conference, some say the writing had been on the wall since Election Day. Seven new members, who ultimately wanted to change the path of RPS, were elected.
Sources tell NBC12 the last board was manhandled by the superintendent's office, but the new group wasn't going to take that anymore.
"What I think we did, set out to do, is change the dynamic and change the relationship between the superintendent and administration and the school board and sort of reassert ourselves as the governing body of the school system," Chairman Bourne said when we brought those allegations to him.
A spotlight was put on that new leadership role and the differences between the board and Brandon during the budget process. In closing an almost $12 million gap, the board chose to keep cuts from hitting the classroom, while Brandon suggested increasing class size. Sources say that was the tipping point.
"It was at some point during that process that we began to have conversations about what's next and if this was a relationship that we saw going forward," Bourne added.
Ultimately, it obviously was not. Now, the board will start the search for a new superintendent beginning with identifying the traits and credentials it wants to see.
Brandon's last day is scheduled for June 30th.
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