The Henrico Schools superintendent has announced he will retire after serving in the district for 20 years.
Dr. Patrick Kinlaw plans to step down in June. Now the school board is planning to come together to discuss finding his replacement.
Dr. Kinlaw has been the superintendent since 2014. Before that, he served Henrico for more than a decade.
"We want to keep students in school,” Kinlaw said back in 2015, speaking out over changes to the Henrico Student Code of Conduct to give school administrators more options to discipline students.
"A student who has misbehaved one time versus four times requires a different approach from the school division,” he said.
He hadn't been on the job for two years at that time. Now after four years as superintendent, Kinlaw is announcing his retirement.
"Kinlaw came at a time where we needed someone that the staff and the community knew, respected and could trust,” said former teacher, Delegate Lamont Bagby.
Bagby served on the School Board when Kinlaw was promoted to lead the district.
"I remember him being innovative and wanting to think outside of the box. Teachers and staff loved him because he was willing to listen,” Bagby said.
Across the community, there’s praise for Kinlaw's time at the top.
The group Equitable Advocates posting on Facebook, "We greatly appreciate Dr. Kinlaw's leadership and service. We hope our children and teachers won't continue to suffer during the transition" as the group cites teacher pay and overcrowded classrooms as lingering concerns.
“Dr. Kinlaw’s tireless commitment to education in Henrico County is undeniable. While we are disappointed that Dr. Kinlaw has not yet addressed our petition that over 450 members of F.A.C.E.S. have signed, which deals with topics such as equity, communication and bullying, we hope that he will either meet with us before he retires or that his successor will address the concerns that we have raised. Nevertheless, we wish Dr. Kinlaw has a very enjoyable, well earned retirement," said Sally Martin with Families Advocating for Communication and Equity in Schools.
NBC12 asked Delegate Bagby what Henrico needs in a new leader.
"We need someone with the passion that Kinlaw has...He's a natural leader,” he said.
"Times change, and so we need to change with times,” Kinlaw said back in 2015.
Now he says it's his time to call it a wrap.
"Kinlaw has been great for Henrico,” Bagby said.
The district says last year, the number of fully-accredited schools in Henrico rose to the highest number the county has seen in five years. The board will meet next Tuesday to discuss the search for a new leader.
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