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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Richardson will not seek reappointment to city school board
Dietrich likely to ask to remain

Friday, May 23, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Pastor James C. Richardson Jr. has announced he will not seek reappointment to the Martinsville School Board, but Dr. Craig Dietrich said he most likely will.

Both are completing their first three-year terms on the school board.

“At this stage of my ministry and at this stage of my life, I had to set some priorities,” Richardson said of his decision not to seek reappointment.

He is pastor of Mount Sinai Church in Martinsville and oversees about 10 other churches in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., he said.

Serving on the school board “has provided many exciting challenges, much fulfillment and satisfaction. It is also a privilege that I will forever cherish and appreciate,” Richardson said.

One of the biggest challenges Martinsville City Public Schools (MCPS) faces is increasing diversity in its work force, which is more difficult because not as many African Americans are going into education as when he was in college, he said. Minority children in MCPS need to see educators who look like them as role models, he added.

Another challenge MCPS faces is closing the racial academic achievement gap, Richardson said.

He praised MCPS administration, faculty and staff for their creativity and for thinking outside the box.

He encourages Martinsville City Council and other local governmental agencies to appoint members and other appointees so as to ensure racial diversity and diversity of thought. City council appoints members to the city school board.

“My hope is that a diverse group of citizens will step forward and let city council know that they are willing to serve on the Martinsville School Board,” Richardson said.

He advises the person named as his successor to be an independent thinker.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Richardson said of serving on the school board.

Dietrich, a local dentist, said, “I think I probably am” going to seek reappointment to the school board.

“I think it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to get a feel for how things work,” he said. He added that when a new member comes on the board, it’s a challenge to get him or her “up to speed.”

“There’s certainly an amount of benefit to have someone (on the board) familiar with the way things work,” he said.

When he initially applied for appointment to the board, one reason was that he has children in MCPS and no one on the board at that time did, Dietrich said. “Now with Rives Coleman on the board, I don’t feel that need,” Dietrich said.

Coleman, who has two children in MCPS, was appointed to the school board in 2013.

Dietrich said the most challenging part of serving on the school board is, “In public education, I think a lot of people are not aware of all the hoops that have to be jumped through to meet all the needs of all the kids.”

He said the most rewarding part of serving on the school board is “to see the school system provide good educational opportunities for all the students.”

“I’m really excited about partnerships with businesses in the community. That’s the way to go The more people involved outside the school system itself, the better off we’ll be,” he added.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to (seek reappointment to the school board). I’m not absolutely positive,” Dietrich said.

What would make him decide not to seek reappointment?

“It takes a lot of time and effort. If some people would put their name in who I think would do as good a job as I would or better, I would be happy to stand aside,” Dietrich said.

City council has set a public hearing for Tuesday to receive and interview city residents interested in a school board seat. The regular session of that meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Council is scheduled to make the appointments at its June 10 meeting.


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