Teachers, parents see improvement at MLK with new leadership

Posted at 12:24 AM, Mar 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-22 00:59:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Last month, Felicia Delaney didn’t know how much more she could take when it came to her son’s school.

Now fast forward to just one month and the Martin Luther King Middle School mother in Richmond has an entirely different outlook.

“I didn’t expect it to turn into this,” said Delaney.

In February, CBS 6 reported about teachers at MLK reaching out with their frustrations about the school.

Some even said they had quit in the middle of the school year and were not getting enough support from school leaders.

Since that story aired, the school now has a new leader. Rickie Hopkins, a former principal at Thompson Middle School replaced Dr. Valerie Harris who retired last month.

“Because of my passion for Richmond Public School students, I felt that I could bring something to this school that would enhance it,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins took on the role in February, but he’s wasted no time making changes.

“I knew it was not going to be easy, so I had to come up with a plan,” Hopkins told CBS 6’s Chelsea Rarrick.

Since arriving, Hopkins said he has addressed the disciplinary issues, which had been a concern for many teachers.

“The first thing we had to do was set some expectations,” said Hopkins. “So the first week here, I met with all the students by grade level.”

And several teachers said Hopkins’ new method is working.

“Listening to our teachers, and creating a climate of conducive learning,” said Dr. Sylvia Brodnax, who teaches History at the school.

Students like Tyrief Delaney also agree.

“I can see some respect in some of the children’s eyes toward Mr. Hopkins.