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UPDATE: New RPS Board Appoints Burke as Chair, Young as Vice Chair

Mariah White
Mariah White was sworn into the 2021 Richmond School Board after her third run for the seat. White will replace former board member Scott Barlow to represent the 2nd district. (Source: Richmond Public Schools)

*This story has been updated

Richmond’s new school board voted on Monday to appoint Cheryl Burke of the 7th district as chair of the board, and Jonathan Young of the 4th district as vice chair.

Returning board member Kenya Gibson and newcomers Mariah White, Stephanie Rizzi and Shonda Harris-Muhammed voted in opposition to Burke’s appointment as chair. White cited a desire for “someone new” as chair. Young was approved unanimously.

The board also approved the following of Superintendent Jason Kamras’s recommendations: Kimberly Collins, the former assistant clerk, as interim clerk; Chief Academic Officer Tracy Epp as Agent to the Superintendent; and Chief Engagement Officer Shadae Harris as Deputy Agent to the superintendent.

The board also agreed to continue meeting on the first and third Mondays of each month, and to meet on Tuesdays on weeks where Mondays fall on a holiday.

Earlier on Monday, the Richmond school district held a swearing-in ceremony for the new school board, which welcomes back five incumbents and features four newcomers. Board members have been elected to serve through 2024. 

Following COVID-19 prevention guidelines, school officials wore face masks for the in-person ceremony, and the podium and other materials were sanitized occasionally. The ceremony was broadcast to the public on Facebook Live. 

New board members White, Rizzi, Harris-Muhammed and Nicole Jones were sworn in to represent the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 9th districts respectively. 

Jones was the only new board member to run unopposed for her seat. She replaces former member Linda Owen, who served as chair of the board since January of last year. White was the only candidate to defeat an incumbent who was actively seeking reelection, Scott Barlow.

Incumbent board members Liz Doerr, Gibson, Young, Burke and Dawn Page were all inaugurated Monday to continue representing the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th school districts respectively.

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