Petersburg superintendent preaches change during ‘State of the Schools’ address

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome delivered his ‘State of the Schools’ address Wednesday night.

Newsome’s been at the job for less than a year, but his impressive record has more than a few parents citing the new school motto, ‘I Believe.’

Dr. Newsome became Petersburg’s superintendent less than a year ago, drawn out of retirement for the biggest challenge of his career.

For years, Petersburg Schools have been poorly funded and strapped for teachers. Newsome is shaking up institutions and structure.

“If we don’t change, we will continue to get what we’ve always gotten,” he said.

He’s also fighting a system that sees itself as defeated.

“We have to demand excellence from the grownups first before we can demand excellence from our children,” Dr. Newsome said.

His plan, ‘Innovate 2022,’ is an entirely new approach.

“We’re putting structures in place that are not going to produce the outcomes the public is looking for in the first year,” Dr. Newsome explained. “We are building a foundation that will last for a decade or beyond. Everyone has a role to support our students here in Petersburg.”

Wednesday’s ‘State of the Schools’ address chartered a clear path for families to follow.

“If we invest in our education and our children, our city will be OK,” Dr. Newsome said.

Newsome’s accomplishments as superintendent in Newport News, and most recently Chesterfield County Schools, give him enormous credibility.

“We’re really excited about the direction we’re going in,” Dr. Newsome added.

As for budget problems that threaten to leave the school system nearly $2 million short in city funding, Dr. Newsome reminded the crowd that the state will step in — if necessary — to fill the gap.

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