Portsmouth School Board chair named president-elect of state organization

The Portsmouth School Board chair was sworn in as president-elect of the Virginia School Boards Association.

Cardell Patillo, who was reelected last week in Portsmouth, was elected to help lead the organization which represents over 100 school boards from across the state.

He said he is the first School Board member from Portsmouth to be elected to the position.

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

He was sworn in on Friday at the annual VSBA convention. He will serve for 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. The previous president, Teddy Martin from Henrico County, will serve on the VSBA Board of Directors as the immediate past president, according to a press release.

Patillo said his one of his goals is to help ensure school boards remain locally controlled and added that the VSBA has supported that stance since its beginning.

“We don’t believe that local school boards and local school divisions should be governed strictly from Richmond,” Patillo said.

He also noted a “major push” on school infrastructure. Based on a statewide study, he said schools across Virginia are in need of upgrades, and VSBA wants to support efforts that address that. He added that Portsmouth Public Schools would particularly benefit from that push, because of its 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. In that time, he has served as the Tidewater regional chair, which Virginia Beach School Board member Sharon Felton currently serves as. Karen Jenkins from the Suffolk School Board will take Felton’s place as the regional chair.

He also has been an at-large member of the VSBA Board of Directors and served on several governance cabinets, including the cabinet for alternative licensures and the policy committee under former Gov. Ralph Northam. Most recently, Patillo served as the federal relations chair.

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

Kelsey Kendall, kelsey.kendall@virginiamedia.com