Good work on leadership choice

Published 10:24 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

The process looked like it was off to a rough start at first, but it seems the School Board managed to navigate the hiring of a new superintendent well and came out on the other end with an excellent choice.

When Dr. Deran Whitney first announced his retirement in April, things didn’t look promising. School Board members were having trouble getting along, which culminated in six of them signing a letter of reprimand against Sherri Story for violating standards of conduct that she never agreed with in the first place — such as using a Facebook page to discuss school issues when the standards say not to do so.

Soon after, she hired an attorney, and even more disconcertingly, the School Board members had trouble even deciding on when and where to hold public input sessions about the hiring of a new superintendent, and the process for doing a survey about attributes the public would want to see in a superintendent.

Email newsletter signup

However, it seems, the Virginia School Boards Association provided good guidance throughout the process, and the board members got their heads together, did the work and came up with a unanimous decision.

Praise was effusive at Thursday’s School Board meeting after the group voted on the details of Gordon’s contract.

Gordon has served as chief of schools in Chesterfield County since 2017. During that time, its school division reached 100 percent accreditation each year. He led in the development of that division’s Administrative Lead Program and the creation of its Leadership Framework.

Gordon previously served as the director of administrative services for Fredericksburg City Public Schools from 2014 to 2017. In that role, he is credited with bringing the International Baccalaureate program, and led efforts to renovate the Walker-Grant Center, in a building that was the city’s first high school for African American students prior to desegregation. Prior to that, Gordon was the principal of James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg from 2009 to 2014.

He has also served as an adjunct professor at several Virginia universities and holds a multitude of degrees, including from both University of Virginia and Virginia Tech — which should please just about any college sports fan in the city.

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Gordon to the city and to Suffolk Public Schools, and we hope everybody else does the same.