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Rita Bishop (RCPS photo)

Roanoke School Superintendent Rita Bishop will retire at the end of the current school year; she made her announcement today in a letter to school employees. Bishop has led Roanoke City Schools since 2007, and she cites dramatically increasing graduation rates and seeing all schools become fully accredited as among the school system’s greatest achievements in the time since. Here is her letter:

Dear Employee,

I have decided to retire at the end of the school year.  This has been a difficult decision, one that is made easier by two charming grandchildren, and has nothing to do with my recent injury.

I want you to know that I appreciate the efforts of everyone in Roanoke City Schools.  We have proved that all students can be successful.  I know that it is hard to meet the needs of our students, and you do that very well.

There are several things that are very important to me.  We have made some tremendous strides—not because of one person; it has been a TEAM effort all the way.  When I arrived in August 2007, we had eight unaccredited schools.  The graduation rate was 59.06 percent.  Today, I am proud that because of great teamwork and dedication, all of our schools are accredited and our graduation rate is 90 percent.

Keeping our students safe has been a #1 priority.  The focus on school safety and security has helped us create a stable learning environment for our students.  Without hesitation, I would send my child to any of our schools.

Forest Park Academy was established in 2008 to address the needs of students who were at risk for dropping out of school.  Forest Park Academy has graduated 1,260 students.

Urban education is hard work; hard work deserves good pay.  I am happy that we have been able to give salary improvements to all staff each year.

I appreciate the well wishes I received during my recent bout with a broken leg.  My goal has always been to make the lives of the children in Roanoke City Schools better each day.  I hope you will continue this endeavor.