Rev. Dr. Roscoe Cooper named Chair for Henrico County School Board

Rev. Dr. Roscoe Cooper named Chair for Henrico County School Board
A work session for the Henrico County School Board is scheduled for Thursday at noon. (Source: NBC12)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The Henrico County School Board voted 4-1 Thursday to elect Fairfield District board member Rev. Dr. Roscoe Cooper as the new chairperson after the former, Michelle “Micky” Ogburn, resigned earlier this month.

Ogburn’s April 8 resignation as Chairwoman of the Henrico School Board comes after numerous demands for her to step down after she shared a controversial, now-deleted, social media post in March in connection to the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing several books.

Days after the announcement, Ogburn shared a viral Facebook post on her personal page from an unknown woman.

Ogburn’s comment above the post read, “I love this and Dr. Seuss books.”

The post that was shared, showed an image of Dr. Seuss’s classic Grinch character raising his middle finger. The photo was accompanied by a poem appearing to dismiss the decision made by the company to stop selling several of its books.

“It is an absolute mistake on my part, that if I could go back in time, see the whole thing, never push the button,” Ogburn said in March following a special closed meeting with the school board.

Since Ogburn’s resignation, Marcie Shea has served as the acting chair.

Shea nominated Cooper to serve as the new chair, while Varina District board member Alicia Atkins nominated herself after a brief speech.

“Our HCPS staff potential and student potential is worth cultivating when times are great and when times are devastating,” Atkins said.

The first-term board member spoke about the need to invest in HCPS during the good/bad times and be positive examples.

“For the faculty, the families and students who are paying attention in this moment, I want to say that I am sorry; I am sorry that you have had to sacrifice so much,” she said. “I want to say thank you because we would not be here and have shifted to this moment where we are right now talking about the future without you. The advocacy that you did for yourselves, the advocacy that you did for others… I want you to know that I get it. I want us to move forward towards a better normal.”

All board members, with the exception of Atkins, voted for Cooper to take over as Chair.

Cooper, who served as Chair in 2020, will remain in the position through the rest of 2021. Shea will serve as Vice Chair.

Meanwhile, the board is also expected to receive an update from the HCPS Health Committee about COVID-19 transmission in the community and schools.

From Feb. 22 through Wednesday, there have been 157 positive COVID-19 cases in schools and offices; 565 people have had to quarantine from possible contact. There have been 27 positive COVID-19 cases in athletics and extra-curricular activities; 436 people have had to quarantine due to possible contact.

Overall, since Feb. 22, when HCPS started expanding in-person learning, there have been 184 positive COVID-19 cases, with 1,001 people entering quarantine.

During Thursday’s work session the Cashwell is also expected to present the vision for the first “Henrico Virtual Academy” with an anticipated start date of Sept. 8, 2021, for the upcoming school year.

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