View this email in your browser

May 2021



Hello 5th District! I truly hope that with the availability of the COVID vaccine and with the relaxing of the CDC guidelines that some return to normalcy is on the near horizon. I want to commend all of our RPS stakeholders for the phenomenal job you are doing with keeping our children safe and connected during these unprecedented times. As always, I am proud of the amazing work our administrators, teachers, support personnel, and staff are doing with engaging and caring for our students. Notably, I want to shout out our teacher of the year, Ashley Bland, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, for all the creative work she does to keep our students learning in the virtual environment and beyond.

 As John B. Cary’s Principal Michael Powell stated, “She goes beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of children.” 

The School Board has been busy at work with making sure our schools are ready for an in-person return to school in the Fall.  Please check RPS Board Docs and follow the RPS Direct for updates to the 21-22 Academic Calendar, on plans for the return to school, and on ventilation and building level improvements that will take place before the Fall. Also, please look out for upcoming budget work sessions.  I ask for your continued engagement and that you reach out with any questions.  

Some notable updates include: 

  • The last day of school will be Thursday, June 17th which will be a 2 hour early release day. RPS will be closed on June 18th to celebrate Juneteenth.

  • Teachers will receive a 3% raise for the 2021-2022 school year in addition to 1.17% step increase for most employees.

  • There will be new start times for most students when they return. The new schedules will be :  8:45 am - 3:45 pm for high school; 8:15 - 3:15 pm for middle school; and 7:45 am – 2: 45 pm for elementary school.

  • Please check the RPS website for graduation updates. Graduations will be in-person at the Diamond this year!

As you know on Monday, April 12th the School Board Passed a resolution that would put schools in control of building schools. This was prompted by a concern about the recent issues with new school buildings costing more than what was originally budgeted and with design and building flaws that presented once the new schools were built. The rationale is that if schools have more control over the process, such issues could be avoided, and there would be a better chance of better engaging community stakeholders in the design and building process.  I love George Wythe High School. I completed my teaching practicum there in 1993—it was the very first time I had the privilege to stand before a classroom. Moreover, I ran on a platform that included prioritizing the George Wythe HS community, and I plan to stick to that.

I know that by working with City Administration, we can achieve our goal of a new, incredibly built George Wythe by 2024. We can build coalitions and put the Schools at the helm to achieve a vision of GWHS that will be a community hub and a place where we will all feel welcome and supported. My colleagues and I have coalesced around this vision because we have faith in the strength of RPS and the collective wisdom of the RPS community—students, parents, staff, teachers. We want them to be at the table as schools are built or renovated, and Schools Building Schools is a way to achieve this.

I ask that in the wake of the tragic gun violence we’ve experienced in our community that you look out for one another and love on our kids. They’ve been through so much.  No one is immune. Two of my personal friends have lost their young sons to gun violence recently. These tragedies must be stopped.  Let’s bind together as a community and work on solutions.  

I will be holding office hours next week on Thursday, May 27th  from 5-6:30 (link below). Hope to see you then.

Stephanie Miller Rizzi  

Zoom Link for Office Hours
Thursday, May 27th
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Upcoming School Board Meetings:

May 20, 3:00 pm: RPS Disciplinary Committee
May 25, 5:30 pm: Finance Committee
May 31, All Day: Schools CLOSED, Memorial Day
June 4, 9:00 am: RPS Disciplinary Committee
June 7, 6:00 pm: School Board

Agendas, Minutes, and Public Documents available here:
To watch School Board meetings live, visit

Comments may be sent to, and will be read aloud if submitted prior to 1:00 pm on the day of the meeting.

RPS 2020 - 2021 School Year Calendar:

RPS 2020 - 2021 Calendario del Distrito:

#ReopenWithLove Page for all information related to virtual learning, food distribution and family support: 

Food Distribution Schedule:   

Lit Limo Schedule: 

Family Support Helpline - Call (804) 780-6195 and learn more about other resources available to families

Sherri D. Robinson, M.A.

What is your position and experience with RPS?

My journey with Richmond Public Schools began in August 1999 as an Office Associate
III Assistant to the Principal of Educare Alternative School, Mr. Hugo Thompson. I
started working at George Wythe High School in 2004 after being promoted to the job
position of Administrative Assistant to the Principal. For the past 17 years, I have been
blessed to serve and support the administrative team, students, families, staff,
stakeholders, and community of the great George Wythe High School. I am a 2019
graduate of Liberty University with a Masters of Arts Human Service Counseling:
Business Degree from the School of Behavioral Science. Also, I am a 2011 graduate of
Strayer University with a Bachelor of Business Administration: Management Degree. My
most significant experiences with Richmond Public Schools is due to the opportunity to
serve and lead on the various committees.

What do you love about the 5th District and RPS?

What I love most about the 5th District is building positive relationships with students and
families. The joy, laughter, and appreciation witnessed when visiting the students' and families'
homes are gratifying. Although many parents and guardians have experienced hardship due to
the COVID-19 pandemic, they are committed to assuring that their children have the best
educational experience in a virtual school setting. Essentially, over my 22 years of being an
R.P.S. employee, this school year has made me the proudest. The leadership, love, and grace
presented by Superintendent Jason Karmas truly set the bar high for all of us to do our very best
to serve our students, families, and communities with love. Significantly, there are not enough
words to describe how well the administrative team, teachers, and staff of George Wythe High
School adapt to the needed changes to serve our students and families daily. The Wythe family is
committed to and understands the importance of providing a conducive learning environment
and service for our students and families.

What are your visions and hopes for RPS? How might they be achieved?

My vision for R.P.S. is for all students to have an equitable educational experience. I am
committed to my role as Crusade for Voters (C4V), Education Committee Chairperson (2021-
2023). As a starting point, the C4V Education committee team will implement a plan of action to
help our students and parents succeed. The five fundamental principles below have been

1. Vocational Education (Richmond Technical Center)
2. Provisions for Afterschool Programs
3. Support Programs for Students with Children
4. Implement Parental Involvement Programs
5. Develop Strategies for Student College and Career Readiness Programs

In conclusion, I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity to share my appreciation, thoughts,
and ideas. I look forward to continuing the excellent work for R.P.S. students, families, and staff!

 Stephanie Rizzi
(804) 929-6930 - for text or calls

5th District Schools:

Full School Directory: 

School Locator Map: 

John B. Cary Elementary (804) 780-6252 

Maymont Preschool Center (804) 780-6263 

Swansboro Elementary (804) 780-5030 

Binford Middle (804) 780-6231 

Open High (804) 780-4661 

George Wythe High (804) 780-5037 

Amelia Street (804) 780-6275 

Patrick Henry School of Arts & Sciences (804) 888-7061 

Richmond Career Education & Employment Academy (804) 780-4332 

RPS Main Phone Number:
(804) 780-7710

Stephanie Rizzi serves as Richmond School Board Member in the 5th District. Views on this page are her own and may not reflect official positions of the body.
Copyright © 2021 Stephanie Rizzi - 5th District School Board Representative, All rights reserved.