Education Editorial: New Richmond Superintendent

Richmond has a new Superintendent. He brings strong experience, unanimous support from the school board and enthusiasm for confronting challenges. Each condition will be important to his success.

After 13 years as superintendent in Henrico and leaving the state for Chesterfield, colleagues would observe, "well this will be like water rolling off of a duck's back". My response was always, "not true". They would frequently respond, "but you have done it for so long".  I would say, "But I've never done it in Chesterfield…I need to start here like I have never done it before."

The success of the new superintendent is critical to the city and the metropolitan area. It is most of all critical to the young people who spend more waking hours in the city schools than they do at home. In a system where the major issues are more the result of "big people" failures than "little people" challenges, perhaps the new administration should focus on limited areas of emphasis.

Teachers and administrators need to know the things for which they will be accountable and then realize the consequences when they fall short. Student discipline should be clear and consistent with a focus on the need to protect everyone more than someone. Families need to be engaged. Whether working three jobs or no job, families should not be taught that schools will do things for them that they should be doing for themselves.

The new superintendent comes with great promise, but he has never done it here before. Accountability, discipline, and family engagement should be banners hung over the airport when he arrives!!

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