Ramona Bishop, long time teacher and school administrator, is working with a group of parents, students and educators, to create a network of charters schools in Solano County to better serve the educational needs of students in Solano County.
The goal is to open Elite Public Schools in the Vallejo, Fairfield-Suisun, and Vacaville school districts. The proposal for the charter school in Vallejo has already been submitted to the district.
Bishop, former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified School District and past president of the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators, says too many students, particularly African American and Latino youngsters, are underserved.
“Though there have been some improvements in the multiple student performance measures tracked in California, African-American students are still not performing as well as other students in the state,” she said.
Bishop, who attended public school in Richmond, worked as teacher in Oakland, an assistant superintendent in Emery Unified was superintendent of the Del Paso Heights School District.
As superintendent of Vallejo City Unified, she facilitated the removal of the district from state receivership and restructured curriculum and instruction and school culture and climate programs. Significantly, graduation rates in Vallejo increased by 25 percent during the six years she worked in the district.
The Vallejo Board of Education voted in March 2017 to end her contract early for no cause, with a mutually agreed upon settlement agreement.
Bishop, however, is not deterred.
“I look forward to continuing to lead efforts to advocate for and create student-centered schools and school systems,” she said.
Her work now is dedicated to “creating a charter school network that is uniquely designed to close the opportunity gap for African-American and Latino students,” she said. However, she has not ruled out leading another district as superintendent.
“This work has shown me that while there are many who believe in the promise of all students, there are others believe the status quo is acceptable,” said Bishop.
“As a parent of two precious girls and the step-mom of two others, I believe the sky is the limit for them,” she said.
Bishop offers advice to other educators and community leaders who are seeking to improve the schools.
“My message … is that the students need you,” she said.
“Keep your head up and fight. We stand on the shoulders of Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. Dubois, Marva Collins, Dr. Arlene Ackerman, Wilson Riles, and living legends like Dr. Charlie Knight and Dr. Rex Fortune,” she said.
“Do not give in to forces that try to deter and demean you. Keep your eye on the prize, and together we will change the trajectory for all students, particularly those that deserve more of our care.”
For more information on Elite Public Schools, go to https://elitepublicschools.org/