Superintendent James E. Richmond formally notified the Board of Education Monday evening that he does not plan to ask for renewal of his contract in 2013. The 16-year Superintendent of Schools said he wanted to provide the Board with ample opportunity to fill his position before his final day on June 30, 2013. Richmond is not required to notify the Board until the February prior to expiration of his contract, but he said "I think the right thing to do is provide the Board with as much time possible to complete the process of hiring a new Superintendent."
Richmond, who is a former Maryland Superintendent of the Year, took the top job in Charles County Public Schools in 1996 as interim Superintendent. He was appointed to his first four-year term as Superintendent in 1997, and he will complete his fourth term in June 2013.
During Richmond's tenure, the school system started paying closer attention to data to track student progress, and he oversaw the creation of a data warehouse. Richmond also focused on improving reading programs for the system's youngest students. He added a full-time reading resource teacher and a Reading Recovery teacher to all elementary schools as well as the Summer Reading Academy and Enrichment Reading Camp. "Our children must learn to read before they leave the primary grades in order to succeed. Reading is the most fundamental skill we must provide for our students," Richmond said.
Richmond also adopted a five-year plan that focuses on academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility.
Under Richmond's leadership, Charles County Public Schools opened four schools and completed renovations and expansion of four others, including the addition of the school system's first indoor pool at Henry E. Lackey High School. Richmond's final project is the building of St. Charles High School, which will open in August 2014, more than a year after he leaves office.
While building North Point High School, Richmond directed staff to oversee technology improvements across the system and to provide equity and wireless access to all schools, students and staff. Using sound financial management practices, the Superintendent was able to allocate the system's funding to upgrade technology, improve infrastructure, reduce class sizes and ensure adequate materials of instruction for students. The Superintendent also created numerous partnerships with businesses and county agencies, the most notable being with the Charles County Sheriff's Office and the Charles County Health Department. These partnerships placed School Resource Officers in each middle and high school and a health department nurse at every school. Richmond feels both enhance the safety and security of the schools.
Richmond has been recognized nationally, locally and by the state for Charles County Public Schools efforts to eliminate the minority achievement gap and his effort to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs for all students. Most recently, the Space Foundation, in partnership with the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF) and NASA, presented Richmond with the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award for his outstanding contributions to Charles County Public Schools educational technology.
Richmond was inducted into the Charles County NAACP Hall of Fame in 2005 for his dedication to excellence and achievement in education for all students. He has been honored with the Maryland State Department of Education Excellence for Minority Achievement Chair Award and by the National NAACP Education Department as the recipient of the Daisy Bates Educational Advocacy Award for the school system's work in seeking to improve equity and accountability in education. Richmond pushed the Board of Education in 1996 to form a Minority Achievement Committee and to approve the system's 10 Requirements for Minority Achievement.
The Superintendent has spent his entire career with Charles County Public Schools, starting in 1966 as a classroom teacher at La Plata High School. He transferred to Thomas Stone High School in 1969 when it opened and became principal at Stone in 1973. He served there as principal until 1985 when he was appointed director of supervision and curriculum. He next served as director of school administration beginning in 1987, and then became the regional administrator for the southern region schools until being appointed as interim superintendent.
The Board of Education on Monday began its discussion of how it will proceed and the process for hiring a new superintendent. "He's not leaving until the end of the next school year, so we have some time to decide what to do," Chairman Roberta Wise said.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Keith Hettel, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.