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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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City council picks Coleman for school board seat
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Rives Coleman was appointed to serve on the Martinsville School Board on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin staff writer

A local real estate agent will serve on the Martinsville School Board.

Martinsville City Council appointed Rives Coleman of Mulberry Road to the board in a 4-1 vote on Tuesday.

Effective July 1, Coleman will fill a seat being vacated by Bill Manning, the current board chairman who has served three straight three-year terms and could not be reappointed.

Also considered for the board seat were Nancy Baker of Hunting Ridge Road, Victor Correa of Sam Lions Trail and Elizabeth Rivera of Forest Street.

All four candidates asked the council to consider them during a May 28 public hearing. Council members then interviewed them in closed session.

Unlike school boards in many localities — including Henry County — that are elected by voters, Martinsville’s school board is appointed by the council.

Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge voted against Coleman. She did not say who she favored being appointed, but she said some of the other candidates “would have helped us serve populations we don’t already serve.”

Coleman, 43, works for Rives S. Brown Real Estate in Martinsville. He will serve on the school board until June 30, 2016.

He already serves on the city’s Industrial Development Authority and Board of Zoning Appeals. He said he will ask City Attorney Eric Monday if there will be a conflict of interest if he serves on all three panels.

Coleman has two children in the Martinsville schools, a rising third-grader and a rising first-grader.

“Having kids in school gives a perspective I think is needed on the school board,” said Mayor Kim Adkins.

Coleman said he has ideas on how to improve the schools, but he will not immediately push them onto school board members.

Rather, he said he wants to be “a teammate” with other board members. He said he also wants to visit all the city schools to learn about how they operate and their needs, as well as teachers’ needs. He said he would like to be involved in efforts to recruit teachers if possible.

Baker, who taught in the city schools for 46 years before retiring in 2002, served three straight terms on the school board until 2011. She said she is not upset that she was not appointed again.

“It’s good to see so many people show an interest in” the seat, she said.

She said she is glad that Coleman was chosen because “a young person has a lot to offer” the board.

After the council meeting, Baker congratulated Coleman. She told him she is willing to do whatever she can to help him be an effective board member.

Council members said choosing a school board member this time around was extremely hard because they had four good candidates from which to choose.

“All are very capable” and would have made good appointees, said Vice Mayor Gene Teague.

“I don’t want any one (of them) to feel they have any shortcomings,” said Councilman Mark Stroud, because he thinks they do not.

Two other school board seats — those now held by Craig Dietrich and J.C. Richardson Jr. — will be up for grabs next year. Stroud encouraged the three candidates who the council did not appoint to apply for those seats.

The council announced the school board appointment following a closed session held to discuss possible appointments to boards and commissions.

In a unanimous vote after the closed session, the council appointed Stroud to the Piedmont Community Services board.

Also behind closed doors, the council met with legal counsel and discussed contract negotiations. No action was taken on that matter, Adkins said.


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