New Kent superintendent to retire

New Kent School Superintendent Dr. Robert "Rick" Richardson, Jr. addresses the New Kent High School Class of 2013 in June. Amy Jo Martin photo

NEW KENT — New Kent County School Superintendent Robert “Rick” Richardson Jr. is retiring at the end of the school year after 44 years in education.

Richardson announced his retirement on Jan. 8 at the New Kent School Board meeting. His retirement is effective July 31.

“It's always hard to leave something you truly love and enjoy,” Richardson said in a prepared statement. “The decision to retire in 2014 and leave this school division after seven years was a difficult decision.

“... After 44 years in education, it is fitting that I retire in July from such an outstanding community as New Kent.”

Richardson, who holds a doctorate in educational administration from William and Mary, joined New Kent County Schools in September 2007 as the associate superintendent for instruction and people personnel. He was chosen as the school's superintendent after Roy Geiger II retired in 2009.

“After a period of consideration, I feel 2014 is the time to retire with so much now completed, which will provide a positive transition for a new superintendent,” Richardson noted.

Since Richardson took the post, New Kent County Schools has had numerous academic achievements including:

•Successful transition of New Kent High School to a four-by-four block schedule, which expanded elective offerings, increased dual enrollment, improved graduation rates, and triggered national recognition by the College Board for AP Achievement test scores.

•Uninterrupted full accreditation of all four schools, including the current year, in which only 36 of 132 Virginia Divisions had all schools accredited

•New Kent Elementary School recognized as a Distinguished Title I School for raising achievement among disadvantaged students.

•Maintenance and operation of safe, secure, and energy efficient facilities

•Opening of first Regional Career and Technical Center approved by the State Board of Education in 25 years, Bridging Communities. The collaborative initiative includes four neighboring jurisdictions and was designated as the 14th Governor's STEM academy.

“These accomplishments were possible through the dedication and commitment of a wide variety of people to whom I offer my sincere thanks,” said Richardson, who thanked the past and present school boards, central office, educators, Sheriff's Office, fire department and family.

“I look forward to this next stage of my life and whatever paths may open up in the future. I am proud to be part of New Kent County Public Schools.”

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.