Chairman of the Portsmouth School Board appointed president-elect of the state organization The Virginian-Pilot

PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth school board chairman has been sworn in as president-elect of the Virginia School Boards Association.

Cardell Patillo, re-elected in Portsmouth last week, has been elected to head the organization, which represents over 100 school boards from across the state.

He said he was the first Portsmouth school board member to be elected to the position.

“I look forward to working tirelessly for (the VSBA members) and their local school departments and school boards,” Patillo said. “And of course we’re doing what we can to improve the education of our children in Virginia.”

He was sworn in at the annual VSBA conference on Friday. He will serve one year as president-elect and then another year as president. The current President is David Woodard, who is a member of the Tazewell County Public School Board. According to a press release, the previous president, Teddy Martin of Henrico County, will serve on the VSBA board as the immediate past president.

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Patillo said one of his goals is to ensure school boards remain locally controlled, adding that the VSBA has supported this stance from the start.

“We do not believe that local school boards and local school departments should be governed solely from Richmond,” Patillo said.

He also noted a “big boost” for school infrastructure. Based on a statewide study, he said schools across Virginia need to be upgraded and VSBA wants to support efforts to address this. He added that Portsmouth Public Schools would particularly benefit from this push due to their aging infrastructure.

Patillo has been involved with the Virginia School Boards Association since he was first elected to the Portsmouth School Board eight years ago. During that time, he served as the regional chair of Tidewater, where Virginia Beach School board member Sharon Felton currently serves. Karen Jenkins of the Suffolk School Board will take Felton’s place as regional chair.

He was also a general member of the VSBA board and served on several governance cabinets, including the Alternative Licensing Cabinet and the Policy Committee under former Governor Ralph Northam. Most recently, Patillo was chairman of the Federal Ministry for Relations.

Outside of his school board and VSBA work, he is executive director of the Mile High Kids Head Start program.

Kelsey Kendall, [email protected]