Education Compact Team UNITE!

The Education Compact Team is almost finalized y'all! There are 22 positions on the Education Compact team and we are just FOUR short of the whole team being here. The only unannounced spots are the 2 members of city leadership appointed by the Mayor and 2 members of School Division Leadership appointed by the Superintendent. On Monday January 29th, the Mayor's Office, City Council, and School Board will have their quarterly meeting at the Richmond Police Training Academy (1202 W. Graham Rd). I can't find an agenda online, but I believe the Mayor's appointees have to be approved by vote so I would bet that is on the table for discussion. This quarterly meetings is just the part of the Education Compact that formalizes collaboration between our different governing bodies. The Education Compact Team is the heart and soul of the document. So.... who are the 18 players already drafted for the team? 

  • 3 Members of City Council
    • 9th District Michael Jones
    • 7th District Cynthia Newbille
    • 4th District Kristen Larson
  • 3 Members of School Board
    • 1st District Liz Doerr
    • 7th District Cheryl Burke
    • 9th District Linda Owen
  • 6 Members representing state government/business/philanthropic/non-profit/civic/academic communities appointed by the Mayor
    • Kelly Chopus- CEO of the Robins Foundation
    • Andrew Daire- dean of VCU School of Education
    • Willie Hilliard- manager of Trent's Barber Shop and president of Brookland Park Area Association
    • Cindy Menz-Erb- former member of School Board
    • Amy Wentz- Army veteran, RPS Parent, and founder of 2 organizations dedicated to community economic empowerment
    • Shelley Worsham- communications chair of the Fan District Association
  • 6 Members of parents/teachers/staff/students appointed by School Board
    • Bob Argabright- school and community volunteer
    • DeLisia Johnson- RPS Parent
    • Ramon Moore- President of REA
    • Lynette Plummer- RPS Parent
    • Rodney Robinson- RPS Teacher of the Year
    • Vilma Seymour- president of Richmond chapter of the League of United Latin American citizens
Education Compact Team.jpg

Mayor Nominees

The Education Compact calls for the selection of "six community stakeholders representing the business, philanthropic, nonprofit, civic and academic communities, as well as state government to be made by consensus between the Mayor, City Council leadership, and School Board leadership." This refers to the six people Stoney nominated in early January who need to be confirmed by School Board.  Richmond Times-Dispatch assembled a Q&A with the nominees but below is a little bit more on their unique backgrounds and experiences. 

Kelly Chopus represents the philanthropic community as the CEO of the Robins Foundation.  The Robins Foundation is a philanthropic organization in Richmond with the mission to improve the Richmond community at large. Before her time at the Robins Foundation, Chopus was the Director of Community Relations for the Goodrich Corporation and Vice President for Business Operations of the WNBA Charlotte Sting. During her time in Charlotte, Chopus was involved with Dress for SuccessCarolina Breast Friends, and was part of a group of executives who participated in a "homeless walking tour." In 2013, Chopus was named one of the 50 most influential women by the Mecklenburg Times. 

 

Andrew Daire represents the academic community as the Dean of the VCU School of Education. Prior to his current position, Daire was the associate dean for research at the College of Education at the University of Houston, various teaching and leadership roles at the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida, and in clinical counseling at Stetson University. If you are REALLY curious about Daire.... he has a THIRTY NINE page CV available online. If you ain't got time for that, a briefer bio is available on the VCU faculty page. Daire is also involved with Partnership for Families and was quoted by the local news in August and September 2017 about RPS beginning the school year with vacancies. He was also brought in as part of the Virginia Teacher Diversity Task Force and met with the Trauma-Informed Care Network's Trauma-Informed Schools Committee

 

Willie Hilliard represents the business community as the manager of Trent's Barbershop and President of the local business association, Brookland Park Area Association. Hilliard is a long-time resident of Northside in the 3rd District, alum of John Marshall, and RPS parent. As president of BPAA, he runs an annual Thanksgiving Drive to bring families a full meal for the holidays and organizes an annual Brookland Park Celebration in the summer. In addition, during the 2016 election cycle, he hosted a Northside forum for school board, city council, and mayoral candidates. As a respected voice in the Northside community and advocate for the Brookland Park Area, he has been quoted many times by local news sources on various topics including crime, city plans to makeover Brookland Park, and the resurgence of Brookland Park Boulevard

 

Cindy Menz-Erb represents the non-profit community based on her background; however, her experience in Richmond is as the former 3rd District School Board representative and RPS Parent. She was appointed to be the 3rd district School Board representative when the seat was left vacant by Jeff Bourne winning his current House of Delegate's seat; however, ultimately she lost her seat in November 2017 to the current representative, Kenya Gibson. Currently she is a Search Specialist at On-Ramps, a head-hunting firm who specializes in helping education organizations fill position vacancies. Prior to moving to Richmond in 2017, Menz-Erb was the Executive Director of LIFT-NY and Executive Director of PowerMyLearning (formerly CFY-NY).

 

Amy Wentz represents the civic community as an Army Veteran and RPS parent in the 8th district who founded two organizations dedicated to community economic empowerment. Wentz was honored as one of Style Weekly's Top 40 under 40 in 2012 as the founder of BlackRVA and We Are Richmond. We Are Richmond dropped a dope music video called "Wake Up Everybody" featuring local artists in 2012. BlackRVA highlights positive community news and promotes black-owned businesses. Shemicia Bowen, Kelli Lemon, and Wentz worked together to launch Richmond Black Restaurant Week in 2017. Wentz is also involved as a board member with Nolef Turns, an organization committed to reducing recidivism, and as a member of the Citizen Advisory Commission on Alternatives to Incarceration. In October 2017, Wentz was one of a few individuals who threw a baby shower for a pregnant woman who lost her fiancee in a fire. A strong voice in our community, Wentz has been a panelist on The Cheats Movement podcast, co-writer of an editorial on transportation access, and quoted by local news media after the Police and Peeps meeting in 2015. 

 

Shelley Worsham represents the civic community as communications chair of the Fan District Association and RPS Parent. Worsham is also the founder of That Girl Shelley, an online graphic design and branding company, President-Elect of Fox Elementary PTA, and Program Administrator for ENB Language 4 Kidz, an enrichment school focused on language acquisition. 


School Board Appointees

The Education Compact calls for the selection of "six RPS parents, teachers, staff members, and students" made by the School Board. The candidates were selected from a pool of applicants and announced in mid-January. Richmond Times-Dispatch published a Q&A with the appointees but read below for additional information on the individuals. 

SB APPOINTEES.jpg

Bob Argabright is a school and community volunteer in the Oak Grove and Bellemeade neighborhoods as part of the Micah Initiative focusing on mentoring but advocating for any resources needed. Argabright is a retired executive of The Chesapeake Corporation and Packaging Corporation and has been involved as a community advocate at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary since 2004. He is also the Chairman and President of Groundwork RVA. In 2014, Argabright was recognized as Mentor of the Year by Virginia Mentoring Partnerships, Volunteer of the Year by Richmond City School Board, Mentor of the Year by Family Lifeline, and recipient of a Community Service Award from Richmond City Council. In addition, Argabright won the Valentine's History Maker Award in 2014. In January 2017, Argabright was honored by the General Assembly in House Joint Resolution No. 662 for his work. 

 

Delisia Johnson is a RPS Parent and RPS Alumna of George Wythe. Currently, Johnson is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) working as a clinical nurse specialist at HCA Virgina Physicians

 

Ramon Moore is the current President of the Richmond Education Association. Moore is a RPS Alumnus of Armstrong High and works as an in-school suspension coordinator at Binford Middle School. In addition, he is a Past President of Concerned Black Men of Richmond. As President of REA, Moore has been quoted by local news media on topics such as teacher shortages and the new Superintendent

 

Lynette Plummer is a RPS Parent who currently works as the Executive Assistant to the Attorney General and is a licensed REALTOR. She is also an individual contributor community partner of Nolef Turns, an organization dedicated to reducing recidivism. 

 

Rodney Robinson is a social studies teacher at Binford Education Center who was named Richmond's 2018 Teacher of the Year. Robinson has taught at Brown Middle, George Wythe High, and Armstrong High prior to his current role at Binford Education Center. In 2011, Robinson was selected to be a Yale National Fellow. In addition to being a teacher, Robinson is a volunteer Little League coach and is active in the East End community. 

 

Vilma Seymour is the president of the Richmond chapter of the League of United Latin American citizens. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at University of Richmond and President of Multilingual and Cultural Solutions, LLC. Multilingual & Cultural Solutions offers medical interpretation and translation training. In 2017, Seymour was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to serve on the Board of Medical Assistance Services for her expertise in medical interpretation. Seymour is also a volunteer at Huguenot High School and will be working with 25 Latino students over the next two years through a program funded by the Ford Motor Company. Seymour was a guest on the September 8th edition of WRIR's Open Source RVA where she speaks on the local impact of the Trump administration decision to end DACA.