On September 5th, 7th District School Board member Nadine Marsh-Carter resigned. The vacancy will be filled by temporary appointment until a November 2018 election. Interested candidates applied by 9/29 and interviewed with the board on October 2nd. Ten people applied to be considered for the appointment.
Candidates include Sharon Burton, Harrison Hayes, Charles Nance, Cheryl Burke, Bryce Roberton, Tim May, Garry Callis, Corrisse Jordan, and Roderyck Bullock. Their interviews can be viewed starting at minute 8:10 of the October 2nd School Board meeting. The candidates were in a separate room allowing interviews to occur individually before the public. In an effort to keep the process fair, the audience was asked to keep the questions and answers confidential from social media and other means. Candidates were asked to give a brief introduction, were given three minutes to respond to each of five questions (listed below), and provide closing comments.
- QUESTION 1: What do you see as the top priority for RPS? And what steps would you take in your role to have an impact?
- QUESTION 2: Describe what assets you would bring to strengthen our team and improve the board’s effectiveness.
- QUESTION 3: What have you done to promote and advance public education?
- QUESTION 4: Can you tell us why you decided to apply?
- QUESTION 5: Could you share with us what ideas you have to move Richmond Public Schools forward?
The board will vote on the appointment at their October 16th meeting. To meet your potential appointees, information available online is provided below. If you want to support or oppose a candidate, hit up your RPS Board Members via email or phone and let them know!
EDITORIAL NOTE: Most information located in Richmond Times-Dispatch archives or City Council meeting minutes. If information should be added, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
As a teacher at Bellevue Elementary in 1998, Sharon Burton won a Virginia Power Partnership Grant to fund Bellevue’s Science Exploratory Lab. In 1999, the 7th District Council seat was left vacant when Leonidas Young resigned after pleading guilty to four charges. Sharon Burton was one of four candidates (Delores McQuinn, Torey Edmonds, and Aubrey El) running for 7th district City Council and was endorsed by the Richmond-Times Dispatch citing her knowledge of the district and selfless involvement in community projects. At the time Burton was a teacher at Bellevue Model School, a member of the PTA, the vice-chairperson of the Richmond Library Board, chairperson of the Library Personnel Committee, and president of the Church Hill Association. Burton stated her campaign sought to end the political monopoly in the 7th District. McQuinn won the election. Sharon Burton also applied to fill a City Council vacancy in 2009 when McQuinn was elected to the General Assembly in a special election. Burton wrote a letterand submitted her resume for the appointment. In 2006, Burton voiced her opinion supporting opening a K-8 school in Fulton Hill stating it is not just about the facility but the programs at the facility. Sharon Burton was the president of Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts board. While Burton was president of the board, the principal of PHSSA was placed on administrative leave and ultimately resigned from the school. There were also embezzlement allegations related to former Principal Boyd that led to increased financial controls. At the time, current 6th District RPS Board Member Felicia Cosby was the district’s spokeswoman. Cosby was quoted in RTD as saying the district was not aware of a police investigation and that RPS Board has always had concerns about the financial stability due to financial management and fundraising. As board president, Burton raised the concerns with Boyd and requested an audit. In 2011, RPS Board Chairperson Kimberly Bridges wrote a letter expressing concerns with PHSSA not meeting the conditions of their charter prompting Burton to send out a letter to parents in response. Burton’s letter called PHSSA progress “nothing short of amazing” and listed bullet points in defense of the school. In the same year, RPS Board wanted a commitment from PHSSA to offer transportation for needy students.
According to VPAP, Sharon Burton has only donated to one political campaign for Viola Baskerville in 2001 totaling $225.
In 2015, the announcement of Hayes wedding to Shamara Walton was announced in the RTD. Pictures of their wedding ran on essence.com where they were described as high school sweethearts who didn’t let their college rivalries impact their relationship. They have an adorable love story on their wedding website. Hayes was quoted in a RadioIQ article about the 9/16 rally in Richmond as saying “I wish it was for another purpose honestly. People are concerned about how they’re going to make the next month’s rent, where their food is going to come, whether their child is safe on the street. And it’s just interesting to see that a lot of people are coming out here for something like this when there’s just so much of a need in the city in other areas.” In May 2013, Howard University News ran a post indicating Hayes received the Reginald F. Lewis Prize for $2,500 which is awarded to the student whose cumulative GPA has the highest increase between sophomore and senior year.
VPAP does not list Harrison Hayes as a donor to any political campaign.
Charles Nance is an attorney at The Nance Law Firm. Nance was elected to the Richmond City School Board in 2002 when the 2nd District incumbent Mark Embridge decided not to run and two candidates did not quality to be on the ballot making Nance the only name on the ballot. In the 2002 2nd district school board election, Richmond Crusade for Voters endorsed Charles Nance, Richmond Education Association endorsed no one, and the Coalition for a Greater Richmond endorsed no one. In 2003, Nance called for the board to take a vote of confidence in Superintendent Deborah Jewell-Sherman. His statement followed 7th district board member Reginald Malone Sr. criticizing the superintendent. Based on RTD archives, opinions on Jewell-Sherman seemed split with 4th district board member Larry Olanrewaju and 6th district board member Gail Townes supporting Nance’s effort. The board voted 7-0 with two abstentions to support the superintendent. In a thesis on RPS Post-Court Mandated School Desegregation, Nance as quoted as attributing the district’s success at moving the dial from 11 accredited schools to 23 accredited schools to Superintendent Deborah Jewell-Sherman’s leadership. Another article found in RTD archives remembers a time in 2003 when board meetings were ending between 11:45PM and 2AM. As a school board member, Nance voted against the a measure to install metal detectors in schools citing the logic that instead of searching for dangerous objects, they should be searching schools for dangerous children and getting them out of the comprehensive schools. Nance also voted in favor of a salary raise for all RPS employees; however, the legislation was defeated in favor of a one-time bonus option. Nance was part of a 2003 vote on a $500 million facilities plan for the next 15 years that included a list of proposed school closings, consolidations, renovations, and new construction. Nance came up with the language that passed in the resolution that the board would “be informed by the plan but not obligated by any part of it.” In 2004, RPS Board received bids from private firmsto operate an alternative school for children. Nance’s opinion was that the district did not have the time to set up it’s own alternative school program in time for school starting in September. Ultimately the board selected Community Education Partners, a for-profit company based out of Tennessee. There was also a discussion on re-naming JEB Stuart Elementary where Nance voted “no” because he considered the proposal to be premature. In 2004, Charles Nance resigned from his school board seat to run for Mayoragainst Rudy McCollum, Lawrence Williams, and Doug Wilder. (SPOILER ALERT: Wilder won). This was the first time Richmond residents were able to elect their mayor in over 50 years. The year after losing to Wilder, Nance was spotted showing up to City Council and various functions. In his run for Mayor, Nance fundraised over $60,000. His largest donor was $16,442 from Mieko Timmons who is now the Executive Director at RVA Community of Caring. During his run for mayor, Nance was cited as a proponent of regional alternative schools, outreach to families of at-risk children, and recognizing that stadium and art center projects won’t change the city unless underlying social problems are addressed. According to RTD archives, Nance made a statement about Mayor McCollum and former governor Wilder using a snack-size cup of Jellow as a prop. Nance’s statement was that both campaigns lacked substance and were out of touch with average people. In a 2005 editorial, Nance outlined his suggestions of “modest steps” that could revive the city’s schools. His steps included: eliminate defeatist thinking, have a plan to renovate schools, and an agreed school funding formula. Nance suggested the formula should be to step-increase funding for the cost of living, increases in debt service the school system is required to pay to the City, and increases in student enrollment. He believed that by providing RPS a bonus for each net new student enrolled in RPS, the school system will take safety, attendance, curriculum, etc. more seriously. In a 2007 Editorial, Nance called for the school board to accept another audit. In 2008 Nance became chairman of the board of the Virginia College Savings Plan via an appointment by Governor Tim Kaine.
3/27/2003: Attended City Council Public Education/School Board Liaison Committee Meeting
5/27/2003: Opposed to ORD 2003-122 regarding school funding.
1/22/2004: Attended City Council Public Education/School Board Liaison Committee Meeting
2/26/2004: Attended City Council Public Education/School Board Liaison Committee Meeting
5/31/2005: Supported ORD 2005-85-95 to adopt debt service fund budget, supported ORD 2005-103-111 to allow Commonwealth Attorney to receive a salary supplement, supported ORD 2005-79-113 to adopt General Fund Budget, ORD 2005-81-114 to accept a program of proposed Capital Improvement Projects, and ORD 2005-87-115 to provide funds for school budget
According to VPAP, Charles Nance has only made donations to Tim Kaine’s campaign in 2004 and 2006 for a total amount of $1,100. Nance Law Firm made a $400 donation to Charles Nance’s mayoral campaign.
In 1998, a substitute teacher made allegations that two special-education students engaged in oral sex in a classroom at Chimborazo Elementary. The substitute teacher claimed her report to school administration was swept under the rug. According to the RTD article, as Principal, Burke found out about the alleged incident three days after it occurred. The allegations were investigated and they were found to be unsubstantiated. A 1999 volunteer program called All New Students Will Emerge Readers (ANSWER) was implemented district-wide to help students learn to read. As a result of the program, Chimborazo reading scores improved from 32% to 77%. While Cheryl Burke was Principal at in 2002, Chimborazo Elementary was identified as a Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS) school due to academic performance. The program partnered Chimborazo with two schools in Fairfax County. As part of the partnership, the schools in Fairfax sent teachers and administrators to Chimborazo as support. In 2005 as Principal at Chimborazo Elementary, the school won a trip sponsored primarily by the PTA to the Bahamas for all 57 employees as a reward for attaining full state accreditation and making adequate yearly progress on SOL scores. Then in 2006 Burke set out to raise money for instruments so more students could participate in music education. Chimborazo Elementary received a donation of coats in 2008 from the Richmond chapter of the Continental Societies. Then in 2009, Second Presbyterian donated 400 pounds of school supplies including hand sanitizer to Chimborazo. Following a shooting near Chimborazo Elementary in 2009 that closed the recreation center housed in the building, Burke expressed the need for more structure at the recreation center and engaged in discussions about what it would take for the recreation center to be allowed back in the school. In 2010, Burke was involved with Marilyn Heckstall of Asbury UMC to raise funds for Chimborazo to hire a volunteer coordinator. Burke was one of the principals to participate in RPS’s “Principal for a Day” program in 2009 where business leaders took over schools for a day. In 2011 Chimborazo Elementary became the first elementary school in Richmond City to offer an International Baccalaureate program. Burke’s background in RPS was thoroughly detailed in a 2012 RTD article about the impact of salaries on principal turnover. Changes at Chimborazo are well-documented during Burke’s tenure as principal as seen in this Richmond Magazine article painting the picture of the 1996 elementary school playground littered with drugs and syringes. Burke was featured in a 2014 article about the impact of mentors at Chimborazo Elementary. Burke retired from her post as Chimborazo’s principal in 2014. Burke was inducted to the Richmond Chapter of Chums, a non-profit organization for women.
VPAP does not list Cheryl Burke as a donor to any political campaign.
Bryce Robertson is an attorney specializing in immigration and criminal law. Currently he works at Dyer Immigration Law Group as an attorney. His prior experience is as an associate attorney at Challa Law Offices. While in college, Robertson interned as a clinical medicine intern at Capital Area Health Network, diabetes action resources and training research intern at Capital Area Health Network, a U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Intern for Eric Cantor, legal clerkship at Bagia & Associates, judicial extern at the U.S. DOJ, and a MLK Intern at Pennsylvania Utility Law Project. He also founded and ran a web solutions and design consulting company called LowTechWeb.comthroughout high school and college. In 2006, Robertson participated in a student stock market game on a team from Atlee High School who had the best record in the state with a $56,418 gain in 10 weeks. In 2001, as a student at Chickahominy Middle, Robertson won 3rd place in the computer science category at the 9th Annual Metro Richmond Science Fair. Robertson was spotlighted in a 2017 Richmond Magazine article about mentorship for Hispanic and Latino youth. Robertson is on the Board of Directors of the Chesterfield Innovative Academy for Girls located at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Chesterfield County. CIA for Girls was founded in 2014 and is a “diverse independent school for girls” that “inspires and empowers students.”
VPAP does not list Bryce Robertson as a donor to any political campaign.
Tim May is a managing partner at Total Solutions Travel. Tim is the head coach for the Church Hull Activities and Tutoring (CHAT) Phantom’s basketball team. Timothy May is a product of RPS having attended Fisher, Thompson, Huguenot, and Richmond Community. He graduated from University of Richmond with a degree in public policy. May is the basketball coach at Church Hill Academy, a volunteer/mentor at CHAT, and on the RCHS Alumni Executive Board. According to a community member, May is living in a 3rd generation home in Church Hill in a heavily gentrified area.
According to VPAP, Timothy May donated $1,000 to McAuliffe’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign.
Garry Callis was quoted in a 2006 RTD article about a standoff in South Side. Callis lived nextdoor to the shooter and indicated the shooter was a “nice, pleasant guy” but indicated the shooter had been brandishing firearms and firing into the air in the days leading up to the shooting. In 2012, when consultants made the recommendation to cut employees to fix the school budget deficit, Callis was one of the community members speaking out as a parent against cutting 92 postitions at a City Council Meeting. Callis was part of EXPLODE Magazine and hosted a youtube show called “AROUND TOWN with Garry Callis” (Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4). With EXPLODE Magazine, Callis interviewed RPD about violent crime. In addition, Callis is the founder of theCosmopolitan Group which is described as a resource management company. Callis was interviewed on The Tanya Free and Friends Show on WCLM 1490.
11/15/2005: Callis, Founder and Director of “The Children of Light”, received recognition for the organization’s efforts.
VPAP does not list Garry Callis as a donor to any political campaign.
In 1994 Corrisse Jordan (Carlton), a student at George Wythe, won first place for duo interpretation at the 7th annual RPS Forensic Tournament. Corrisse Jordan is a federal government auditor for Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA).
VPAP does not list Corrisse Jordan as a donor to any political campaign.
Roderyck Bullock is a regular attendee and public comment participant at City Council and School Board meetings. Rod’s background includes being an RPS Coach, serving on the board for Richmond Community Action Plan (R-CAP), serving on the Richmond City Democratic Committee, and serving as interim President for Richmond Crusade for Voters. As someone who speaks out frequently, Bullock has a documented history of his opinions and advocacy as seen in the timeline of articles/mentions below:
4/30/2003: Supported ORD 2003-38-106 for the city to acquire 2412 North Ave for the purpose of a community center
1/12/2009: Spoke at Council to honor Councilperson Delores McQuinn
2/17/2009: Supported RES 2009-R7 which denied an application by DGM Properties to construct a 33-unit condo at 3618-3626 E Broad St and 3609-3611 East Marshall Street
10/14/2009: Style Weekly Top 40 Under 40
3/18/2010: RTD article about Bullock’s appointment to President of Richmond Crusade for Voters in wake of controversy over the former president’s pro-charter school testimony (details about controversy can be found here)
7/26/2010: Spoke at Council to express displeasure with GRTC fare increases
7/28/2011: Supported ORD 2011-129-149 to authorize a comprehensive agreement with Tompkins/Ballard Joint Venture to design and construct the New City Justice Center Project.
9/24/2012: Spoke at City Council regarding an alleged incident involving Padow’s Deli located within City Hall
11/12/2012: Supported RES 2012-R141-R143 to rezone properties at 5619 Forest Hill Ave, 5625 Forest Hill Ave, 1664 Limerick Drive, and 1664 A Limerick Drive to R6 Single Family Attached Residential District.
6/26/2014: CBS6 article about Facilities Task Force
4/22/2013: Spoke at City Council to request a review of the status of athletic facilities within city
7/8/2013: Opposed RES 2013-R157 which would put the stadium decision to a referrendum
9/23/2013: Spoke at City Council to express concern regarding football field conditions at John Marshall High
11/19/2014: Applied for appointment to Capital Area Partnership Uplifting People, Inc Board
According to VPAP, Roderyck Bullock made a $400 donation to Dwight Jones mayoral campaign in 2008.
Kai Banks is an office/fiscal coordinator in VCU’s School of Education. Her past experience includes facilitator at Richmond Family and Fatherhood Initiative, Program Specialist at AmeriCorps ACES/Girls for a Change, and an Achievement Coach at Higher Achievement. Banks has been featured on BoxCutter TV whose mission is to raise awareness about domestic violence. Persist RVA featured Banks as a panelist at their Healing Our Community event which focused the discussion around violence, education, and urban farming. In 2014 Banks was pictured in the Richmond City Human Services report as part of a write up about the Richmond AmeriCorps ACES events. Richmond Free Press featured Banks and her work with Girls for a Change event “Date with Date.” In 2017 Banks participated as a volunteer in National Volunteer Week.
VPAP does not list Kai Banks as a donor to any political campaign.