Bishop was selected by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and leaders of five state education organizations on Tuesday night in Roanoke.
One of Bishop’s largest accomplishments is increasing the school division’s graduation rate from 59 percent to 77 percent over the last five years.
“It was a great honor to be chosen to represent Region 6," Bishop wrote in a news release. "I have profound respect for the area Superintendents who chose me. It was very humbling to be selected as State Superintendent of the Year. Any success that I have had is the direct result of the wonderful people I work with."
Bishop is now eligible for the national Superintendent of the Year award, which will be announced in Nashville, Tennessee, next February.
“We are so very proud of Dr. Bishop. I must admit that we are not at all surprised by her recognition, but it is long overdue and wholly appropriate,” School Board Chairman David Carson wrote in a news release.
Rockbridge County Superintendent John Reynolds was named the Region 5 Superintendent of the Year, and Tazewell County Superintendent Brenda Lawson was named Region 7 Superintendent of the Year.
Here is the news release:
Dr. Rita D. Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Schools, was named Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) annual conference on Tuesday evening in Roanoke. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the leaders of five Virginia education organizations selected her from among eight regional Superintendents of the Year.
Dr. Bishop has provided inspirational leadership in the development of Roanoke City Schools as a model for urban public education. Chief among her accomplishments is the improvement of the district’s graduation rate from 59% to 77% over the last five years, which was a significant achievement for an economically challenged school system where 75% of the students are on free and reduced lunch.
The success of a number of innovative programs that she has introduced to improve student achievement can be attributed in a large part to her skill in developing support from her community. Dr. Bishop has been instrumental in getting her parents, churches, businesses, and community colleges involved in the city’s public schools, which is a major undertaking in light of severe budget cuts and scarce resources. She has demonstrated to other urban centers that you can accomplish great things even in the most challenging times.
In presenting Dr. Bishop with the Virginia Superintendent of the Year Award, VASS President Ben Kiser said, “Innovative, visionary, and resourceful are excellent adjectives used to describe Rita Bishop’s leadership as superintendent of Roanoke City Schools.” He continued, “By getting her staff and community behind her, she has been able to take bold steps to improve Roanoke’s schools and enhance the city’s economic vitality.”
Dr. Bishop returned to Roanoke City Schools to become superintendent in 2007 after serving three years as the superintendent of Lancaster School District in PA. Previous to her time as superintendent in PA, she had been the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction in Roanoke for ten years.
As Virginia's Superintendent of the Year Dr. Bishop will be eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year Award, which will be presented in Nashville, TN next February by the American Association of School Administrators. The Regional Superintendents of the Year included:
Patrick J. Russo, Superintendent of Henrico County Schools
Jennifer B. Parish, Superintendent of Poquoson City Schools
Jeffrey O. Smith, Superintendent of West Point Schools
Keith Rowland, Superintendent of Shenandoah County Schools
John R. Reynolds, Superintendent of Rockbridge County Schools
Rita D. Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Schools
Brenda B. Lawson, Superintendent of Tazewell County Schools
Oliver W. Spencer, Jr., Superintendent of Brunswick County Schools