Letter to the Editor: Berryville Man Calls for School Board Unity

Statement delivered  by Roland Clarke at the Clarke County Board of Education Meeting, December 19, 2011: 

I am a community activist. I’ve organized the Berryville Citizens organization; run for a seat on the Berryville Town Council and am a committee chairperson with the local branch of the NAACP.

I feel that I have my finger on the pulse of many in this community – not just the minority community. It is my belief that all citizens working together can definitely improve the lives of all of us. I’m coming to you tonight asking you (who will soon be a new Board of Education in 2012) to begin working together for the betterment of ALL students in our schools. Please consider the needs of ALL-students – reflect on the outstanding achievements and the achievement gaps. Focus-on all sub-groups as you strive to improve opportunities for ALL students.

Each student needs to see an adult who reflects himself or herself in the classroom. Therefore, I’m asking you to vigorously recruit minority teachers to the class rooms of Clarke County Schools. The class rooms in Clarke County do NOT reflect the’ real world.

In 2004 I made a request to the then Superintendent of Schools to re-name the soon to be renovated elementary school, which will be housed in the old high school, in honor of an outstanding African American such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks or even Raymond Ratcliffe. Mr. Ratcliffe was the last principal at the segregated Johnson-Williams High School. He bridged the gap and supported many African American students as they transitioned to Clarke County High School and integration. As the federal grant writer for this school system he was responsible for thousands of dollars awarded to Clarke County.

In conclusion, I am respectfully requesting:

* The utmost cooperation between the Board of Education and the Superintendent.

* A sincere effort to recruit minority teachers. A suggestion is to secure the assistance of minority
retired teachers.

* Rename the elementary school in honor of an African American

Thank you for your attention. I am willing to help in any way to assist you in improving the educational lives of ALL our children.

Roland Clarke

Mr. Clarke is a resident of Berryville, Virginia





Presented by Roland Clarke

Clarke County Board of Education Meeting

‘. December 19, 2011



  1. With all due respect to Mr. Clarke’s 3rd item…Johnson-Williams Middle School is already named for not 1, but 2, prominent African American educators and leaders from Clarke County. Only one other building in CCPS is named for someone – D.G. Cooley Elementary School. The others are named after towns, or the county proper. It would seem to me that, if one is asking for balance, then that exists. That no bulding is named for anyone of historical significance outside of Clarke County (though many historical figures played a part in the area’s rich heritage) is equally notable. I wsould suggest that naming suggestions wait until the final building renovation plan is put forward, so that the community may see what the division’s ultimate plans are for each facility.

    I agree with Mr. Clarke’s other points, as both would bring some strong positive energy to the division’s schools.

  2. Let’s not discriminate against “non-minorities” by purposely looking to hire “minority” teachers, perhaps a better idea is to hire the BEST most qualified candidates available for the price that we can afford to pay.

    I want my children to be educated by the BEST teacher we can afford, I don’t care if they are “minority” or “non-minority”.

  3. Mr. Clarke wants “minority” teachers to be recruited. By “minority” he means “black”. I’m not name calling her, but Mr.Clarke seems to be a bit of a racist.
    The African American is very well represented in the school system, in the teachers, administration and student body.

  4. Naked Truth says:

    So, by supporting “ALL” you really mean around 10% of the students. Nice try.

  5. My kids absolute worst year in the system came from what I believe was a minority hire. The teachers skills were lacking; The classes were not organized well and not only did my child pay for it, but we were in agony as he didnt want to go to school all of a sudden. We spent hundreds of dollars on medical examinations and therapy thinking that something was wrong with our son. Then suddenly 4th grade is over and 5th grade shows up and what do you know, Experienced teacher and life is all of a sudden good again. Hiring someone who is not qualified for the job based on the color of their skin is OK depending on the job. Would they hire a crappy white teacher? I dont think so.

  6. I take thatlast part back. They have hired crappy white teachers.. Not toomany but a few.

  7. Right Winger says:

    Skin color has nothing to do with the quality of a person. The sooner we all realise that, the better off we’ll be. This racist crap needs to stop, on both sides.

  8. That’s just the problem. Talking about this issue is not racist. We are talking about the wisdom of skewing hiring practices so less qualified people of color can gain advantage in obtaining a job. That’s all fine and dandy with regards that person getting as job, but if as illustrated other people pay a price for that decision.