2015-10-14 / News

Newsome to step down as schools chief

Superintendent to stay on through June 30, 2016
By Michael Buettner

Calling it a “bittersweet moment,” Chesterfield County School Superintendent Marcus Newsome announced Tuesday that he will step down as of July 1, 2016, after 10 years at the helm of the state’s fifth-largest public school system.

Before an audience of about 20 county officials, school administrators and community representatives at a hastily scheduled press conference, Newsome said he told School Board members last year about his plan to retire.

However, he said, “I decided to make a public announcement today to give the board an opportunity to engage the community in a rigorous and collaborative process that will attract and lead to the hiring of the best new superintendent in the country.”

Newsome noted that when the school system was faced with steep budget cuts in the face of a national economic downturn, he made a commitment to the School Board that he would “stay until we came out of those tough times.”

Now, he noted, teacher salaries have increased, class sizes have decreased, and the county’s students are posting solid scores and graduation rates. “Given our stability, the time is right to hand the baton off to a new leader who will build on our successes and take Chesterfield County Public Schools to even greater heights,” Newsome said.

School Board Chair and Bermuda District representative Carrie Coyner thanked Newsome for his decade of service to the county.

“For many of us on the board and for many school division employees, Dr. Newsome is the only superintendent we have known,” she pointed out. “A man of faith, Dr. Newsome has been a faithful leader, a courageous adviser, a constant advocate and a colleague who will tell you what you need to know and not just what you want to hear.”

Newsome came to Chesterfield for the start of the 2006-07 school year, succeeding Billy Cannaday, who left the job to be the state secretary of education. Previously, Newsome served as superintendent in Newport News. He earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Bowie State University in Maryland and a doctorate in religious education from the International Seminary in Plymouth, Florida.

In an interview after the press conference, Newsome said he has made no definite plans for a career after he steps down next year, but is considering several options.

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