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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Coleman brings new viewpoint to school board
Plans to keep 'ears to what parents' needs are'
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Rives Coleman

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

A business background and negotiating skills, a parent’s viewpoint and community/athletic interests are some of the things Rives Brown Coleman will bring as the new member of the Martinsville School Board.

Martinsville City Council recently appointed Coleman, 43, of Mulberry Road, to a three-year term on the school board. He fills a seat vacated by Bill Manning, who could not be reappointed because he had served three straight three-year terms.

Coleman said he is an associate real estate broker with Rives S. Brown. He is the fourth generation of the family-owned firm. His great-grandfather Rives S. Brown founded the company in 1928. Coleman’s father, James D. Coleman, is the principal broker at Rives S. Brown.

Rives Coleman and his wife of 11 years, Tiffany, have two children, Claire Warner Coleman, 8, a rising third-grader at Patrick Henry Elementary School, and Baylie Brown Coleman, 5, a rising first-grader at PHES.

“My girls are extremely happy” at that school, he said, and he praised school leaders.

With his appointment to the school board, there now will be two school board members who have children attending Martinsville City Schools, Coleman said. The other is Dr. Craig Dietrich.

“I’ll have my ears to what parents’ needs are,” Coleman said.

He was born and reared in Martinsville and attended Carlisle School for 12 years, graduating in 1988. He was captain of the soccer, basketball and tennis teams and editor of the yearbook at Carlisle. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 1992 with a double major in history and religion.

While helping take care of his ill grandmother, he was a substitute teacher (mostly at Martinsville High School and a little at Carlisle) during the 1992-93 school year and coached the boys tennis team at MHS, which won the district that year, he said. He lived in Raleigh, N.C., for a year and was a salesman for Systel Office Automation. He returned to this area in 1994-95.

He is on the board of Arts at the Rives Theatre, is on the fundraising committee at the Smith River Sports Complex, and is involved in the Sunday school program at Christ Episcopal Church, where he formerly was a youth group adviser, he said.

He serves on the city’s Industrial Development Authority and the Board of Zoning Appeals. He said the city attorney has advised him he will have to resign from the Board of Zoning Appeals, but he does not yet know if he will have to quit the Industrial Development Authority.

He coached the boys tennis team at Carlisle in spring 2012. The team advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time in Carlisle’s history.

Initially on the school board, Coleman said he plans to learn about operations and needs.

He said he wants to ensure the school division gets the best teachers available and would like to be involved in teacher recruitment. He said he has helped organizations with recruiting and a lot of visitors to this area are surprised by its many attractions, including Lake Lanier, the sports complex, Philpott Lake, Dick and Willie Trail, access for kayaking and canoeing on the Smith River, among others.

He also wants to make sure schools have all the tools they need to provide a world-class education.

Coleman praised school division and city officials for their leadership in tough financial times and for much-needed renovations under way at Martinsville High School.

“I’m extremely excited and grateful city council gave me this opportunity” to serve on the school board, he said. “I love living in Martinsville and want to help move forward.”

The people of this area are resilient, he said.

“We’ve had some tough (times). Hopefully, we’ve got some good ones coming around the corner,” he said.


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