Southampton superintendent to retire

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dr. Alvera J. Parrish, superintendent off Southampton County Public Schools, announced at Monday evening’s school board meeting that she will retire effective July 1.

“This is part of my career plan,” Parrish said. “When a person decides to retire, they make a personal decision based on what their career goals are or what kind of transitions they want to make. There are some other things I want to do. I invested very well early on in my career, and the benefits are going to pay off very well.”

The 58-year-old Parrish, who was named superintendent in 2012 after a five-year stint in various administrative roles at Petersburg City Public Schools, said that she would like to travel and spend time with her family.

“I’ve had this in the plan for several months,” she said, noting that she was not pressured to retire with the contract up for renewal last month. “This was my decision that I made on my own and I informed the board of what I wanted to do.”

In the the four years since she replaced Charles Turner, Parrish said that she has made numerous lasting relationships.

“The people here that I’ve worked with have been absolutely great,” Parrish said. “We have a great team, and I think we’ve been able to accomplish a whole lot through our instructional program with some of the capital improvements that have been done here. The building of partnerships and working with the community groups and the parents and just overall, it’s been a very good experience.”

The Brunswick County native introduced several instructional and athletic upgrades during her tenure, most notably improvements to the track and the introduction of scholastic programs such as “Bikes for Books.”

“The most important thing that I want to do is leave Southampton in a good shape [and] that we can continue to open doors for excellence so whoever comes after me has the opportunity to build on something good that’s been started,” Parrish said. “I do think I’ve done a whole lot of good since I’ve been here.”

In order to find Parrish’s replacement, school board chairman Dr. Deborah Goodwyn said that the the first step is to get a search firm to help the members identify and screen applications.

“The Virginia School Board Association helped Southampton County with the past two searches, but I don’t know if the VSBA will be used again or some other firm,” she said.

Goodwyn, who said the whole process should take about 15 to 18 weeks, is hopeful that the search begins in February.

“We want to get community and employees’ input in terms of qualities they want to see in a superintendent,” she said. “We’re certainly we’re going to be inclusive in what we do.”