Roberta S. Wise, former chairman of the Board of Education of Charles County, was recently named as the first recipient of the James E. Richmond Leadership Excellence Award. The award was established in 2013 to honor school system leaders who exhibit the standards of leadership and excellence demonstrated by Richmond during his career. Richmond spent his entire 47-year career in education with Charles County Public Schools, and served four terms as superintendent. Wise was presented with the award by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill at the Dec. 9 Board meeting.
In her comments about the award, Hill said Wise’s service to the school system has epitomized the phrase be the difference. “Great leaders lead by example. Mrs. Wise has shown that she is willing to put in the work to accomplish whatever task is at hand. She is a visible and vocal advocate for public education,” Hill said during the award presentation.
Wise served two four-year terms on the Board of Education, from 2006 to 2014, and was chairman for the last five years of her time on the Board. Wise said she was honored to be chosen for the award. “I am so honored to have received an award in the name of former Superintendent James Richmond, whom I have great respect for. I give all of the credit for my leadership skills to the many outstanding people I have worked with and been mentored by over all of my years in education,” Wise said.
During her time on the Board, Wise was well known for her leadership. Hill said not only did Wise have a solid understanding of herself and the ability to handle difficult decisions, but she is an excellent communicator. “Mrs. Wise knows how to reach a variety of people in many different ways to build consensus. She communicates with strength and with humor, always advocating the needs of our students,” Hill said during the award presentation.
Prior to her election to the Board in 2006, Wise worked for Charles County Public Schools as a mathematics teacher at Henry E. Lackey High School, a mathematics resource teacher at the system level and as a coordinator of the Educational Partnership Team. During her teaching career, she received the Charles County Public Schools Teacher of the Year award, and was honored by the Washington Post as a recipient of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991. Wise retired in 1999.
The idea behind the award came from former longtime Board of Education member Col. Donald Wade, who served on the Board with Wise and passed away earlier this year. Wade introduced the award as a way to honor outstanding school system leaders and to honor Richmond for his service to Charles County Public Schools. Wise just completed her second and final term on the Board and said she considers being chosen for the award as a highlight of her career. “This award highlights what service to children is all about – being the difference for them and believing in them is what counts,” she said.
A plaque naming Wise as the first recipient is on display near the boardroom at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, which houses Charles County Public Schools administrative offices.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.