The Harrisonburg City School Board announced Tuesday that Michael G. Richards has been hired as the district’s next superintendent.
Richards served as chief of staff for Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams for the past four years.
According to announcement, Richards was given a three-year contract through June 30, 2022, at a salary of $176,000 per year. He’ll take up his new duties May 1.
Harrisonburg school leaders conducted a five-month nationwide recruitment effort that involved 37 candidates.
In the school district’s announcement, Richards was described as “a future-focused leader and enthusiastic advocate for building programs that prepare all students as global citizens and world-ready learners. He brings a strong background in strategic planning and in developing systems that promote equity, place students at the center of teaching and learning, and leverage the strengths of diversity. He has built a reputation as an innovative leader who empowers others to optimize results through high expectations and continuous improvement.”
Harrisonburg City Public Schools has approximately 6,300 students, 800 employees and an $80 million budget.
In Loudoun, Richards took the newly created chief of staff post following the retirement of a longtime deputy superintendent and served as William’s second in command. He came to Loudoun after working as the director of data and accountability with the Del Valle Independent School District in Texas. A graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna, Richards majored in philosophy at the College of William and Mary, earned a master’s degree in American studies from University of Maryland and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Notre Dame. He taught at the high school and college levels for 13 years.