Parents, community members weigh in on next Roanoke City Schools superintendent

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Roanoke City Public Schools is giving parents and staff members the opportunity to provide feedback on their next superintendent.

The consultants involved in the search are now reviewing comments from about 60 community members they heard from Tuesday night.

Those who showed up were given the opportunity to talk about what the city and district have to offer in recruiting a new superintendent. Then they were also asked what challenges the new superintendent would face and how they would like to those overcame.

Many people spoke about some grievances they have with how the school system is run right now. Some parents mentioned new programs they would like to see or ways to expand on and improve current ones.

It was all input that parents like Lakisha Coles says was important to be taken in during the process.

“A voice not heard and a voice not speaking out is just an opportunity for any type of obstacle or any type of critical issue that should have some light shed on it, or should be looked at to be overlooked. You cannot complain about not having progress if you’re not a part of putting your voice and your hands to commit to change,” Coles said.

Wilton Kitt says he cares about the future of his kids and the next generation of students to come.

“I wanted to see what impact the superintendent would have in the direction going forward because want Roanoke to be a place where people choose to send their kids to school, where people choose to live. And that the future is as bright as the great past that we have in this city,” said Kitt.

Superintendent Dr. Rita D. Bishop announced her retirement October 2019. She did not give a reason for retiring.

In a letter, she noted achievements made during her tenure, which began in 2007.

That year, she said the district had eight unaccredited schools and a graduation rate of just 59.06 percent, compared to today where all schools are accredited and there is a 90 percent graduation rate.

Dr. Bishop will retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

In January, the Roanoke City School Board hired McPherson & Jacobson to conduct a nationwide search to find the next superintendent.

The firm will hold a series of stakeholder meetings to gather input. Here is the schedule:

  • Monday, Feb. 10 – Consultants will meet with Professional Staff (teachers, library/media specialists, school counselors and counseling coordinators, social workers, instructional and student support specialists, speech pathologists, mentors/coaches, instructional coordinators, behavior specialists, athletic directors and trainers) at 4 p.m. in the Patrick Henry High School cafeteria.
  • Monday, Feb. 10 – Consultants will gather input from Administrators (principals, assistant principals, executive staff, department directors, accountants) at 5:30 p.m. in the Patrick Henry High School cafeteria.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11 – Consultants will meet with Classified Staff at 5:30 p.m. in the William Fleming High School Auditorium.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11 – Consultants will gather input from Parents/Guardians, and PTA members.  The meeting is open to anyone who wants to provide feedback.  This meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the William Fleming High School Auditorium

Additionally, an online survey will be available from Feb. 7 – Feb. 13.  The online survey, which will be in English and Spanish, will be available beginning Feb. 7. For more information, click here.

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