Superintendent of Schools James E. Richmond received several honors during the Board of Education's June 11 meeting, including the presentation of a citation from Gov. Martin O'Malley, to highlight his 47-year career in education with Charles County Public Schools, and contributions he has made for children in the Charles County community.
Pat Foerster, education policy advisor with the governor's office, presented a citation to Richmond on behalf of Gov. O'Malley and the state of Maryland to recognize the successes the school system has experienced under his leadership. During her introductory comments, Foerster specifically acknowledged the reading program in Charles County and the high participation rate of the school system in the TELL Maryland survey. “You leave behind a legacy for the school system of putting programs in place that put children first. The people of Maryland celebrate your passion and vision,” she added.
Richmond was humbled to accept the citation and thanked the Board members and staff for helping him make the school system successful. “I have to thank the staff and Board members who have supported me all of these years. Without the support of everyone and their dedication to the goals of the school system, we would not have experienced the successes we have seen over the years,” Richmond said. In addition to the citation presentation, Richmond was also honored during two additional presentations at the Board meeting.
Col. David Reilly, a JROTC instructor at Thomas Stone High School, presented Richmond with a plaque from the Charles County Junior Reserves Officers Training Corp (JROTC) program. The award was presented by Reilly on behalf of the JROTC faculty and student cadets, and honors Richmond for his efforts in establishing the program in all Charles County public high schools. In introducing the award, Board member Col. Donald Wade fought back tears as he expressed how proud he is of the contributions Richmond has made to the JROTC program. “As a son of Charles County, I have seen the area transition from back woods farms to cultured learning. That is where we are today as a result of programs such as the JROTC,” Wade said.
As he presented Richmond with the plaque, Reilly said he was first hired by the school system about 20 years ago when the JROTC program was introduced at Stone and is thankful for the opportunity to work with cadets in training. The plaque honors service members for their contributions to JROTC programs. Wade worked with Reilly to make the surprise plaque presentation to Richmond at the Board meeting.
During the meeting, Richmond was also honored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local union with a surprise donation to a community organization in his honor. AFSCME President Bill McLaughlin, who is an electrician with the school system, along with Guy Genovese, a Council 67 union representative for Charles County Public Schools, partnered with LifeStyles of Maryland, Inc. to sponsor a $1,000 donation in Richmond's name. During the presentation, McLaughlin applauded Richmond's continuous support of education and for keeping employees a top priority. “Your vision and path of success has changed education in Charles County,” he said.
LifeStyles is a non-profit organization that provides support and programs to the Charles County community. LifeStyles Executive Director Sandy Washington accepted the donation during the presentation, and Richmond thanked both AFSCME and LifeStyles for their support of the school system. “We could not ask for better partners than our employee unions and the community organizations that support the school system. Our supporters need to know how important they are and I thank you for honoring me in such a giving way,” Richmond said.
Richmond's fourth and final term as superintendent of schools comes to a close at the end of this month. He started his career with Charles County Public Schools 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. He was appointed to his first term as superintendent in 1997.
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.