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‘Duty called’ Dr. Newsome ready to accomplish something great with Petersburg schools

Posted at 12:04 AM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 00:04:47-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- After announcing his retirement in October, current Chesterfield County Schools superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome said he never thought he would back in charge of a school system.

Wednesday, Dr. Newsome signed a new contract to become the new superintendent of Petersburg Public Schools.

“I had no intentions of ever working again as a superintendent, but I felt that duty called,” he said.

So what made him decide to come to Petersburg?

He said it started when he was approached by state representatives who liked his ideas about how to improve the city's school system.

“I tried to serve in an advisory capacity and over the course of several months it materialized that they thought I should strongly consider this opportunity,” Dr. Newsome said.

Dr. Marcus Newsome

Dr. Marcus Newsome

The new job takes Newsome from one of the state's strongest and largest school systems to one with a significant number of challenges.

"The challenges in Petersburg are great, but so are the opportunities to accomplish something great for the city’s children and the entire community," Newsome said.

Newsome will be making an annual salary of $230,000 with $60,000 of that coming out of an incentive fund. That fund has been approved by the general assembly, to allow Newsome to bring in top administrators to try and fix the school system.

The new four year contract takes effect July 1.

Dr. Marcus Newsome

Dr. Marcus Newsome

When asked will he regret his decision to come out of retirement, Newsome said he’s ready for challenge.

“It's going to be a big difference coming from Chesterfield, I'm not naive about the challenges but with every challenge comes an opportunity so I'm going to focus on the opportunities,” he said.

Newsome said one of the first things he will do, is simply listen.

“We will have a community wide process of revisiting the school district and looking forward to a long term strategic plan,” Newsome said.

Peabody Middle School parent Teresa Mason said she knows changes won’t happen overnight, but she is looking forward to new beginnings.

“I've seen the school system go down year after year, superintendent after superintendent, so I think Mr. Newsome coming to Petersburg schools is going to be a good thing.

Before leading the Chesterfield County School system for a decade, Newsome served as superintendent of Newport News Public Schools.