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Faculty diversity issue surfaces

by Larry Chowning

During a public comment period at the Middlesex County School Board meeting Monday night, concern was voiced over lack of minorities and diversity among the Middlesex County Public Schools (MCPS) faculty and staff.

The issue first came up when parent Dawn Moore said she is “saddened” she does not see more African-Americans being hired as teachers and administrators in the MCPS. “When I walk into the schools, I do not see enough African-American teachers and administrators,” she said. “Minority children need to see more of their own kind within the schools.”

Moore praised MCPS officials for having hired an African-American assistant principal (Allen Johnson) at Middlesex High School. “I see this as a very positive thing,” she said.

However, Moore spoke of a former African-American MHS graduate who was not hired recently, and this was disappointing.

The next speaker, Cynthia Beverley, shed some light on this matter. The Beverley family is a longtime African-American family that has lived in Middlesex County for generations.

Beverley said that her daughter Alexis, who recently graduated from college, applied for a job in the MCPS and was not given an interview. She said Alexis had been a substitute teacher in the county on the advice of former African-American assistant school superintendent Dr. Michael Cromartie. 

Beverley said Dr. Cromartie was delighted Alexis was interested in teaching school in Middlesex. She said Cromartie told her how hard it was to attract minority teachers to come to Middlesex as the county is far from metropolitan areas, and that young teachers say there is nothing to do in the county and also noted that salaries are lower in Middlesex than other areas.

“When she graduated, the first school system Alexis applied to was Middlesex County,” said Beverley. “I am very disappointed that you did not see fit to hire her and, as a parent and a citizen, I believe children of color in our school system need to see teachers and administrators with faces of color.

“I know that by being here it will not help my daughter get a job in MCPS, but I do believe that by standing here it may help the next African-American who wants to teach in Middlesex County,” said Beverley.

Beverley said Alexis has since been hired to teach in a school system in the Richmond area.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 08.16.2018

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