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Vella Wright, whose decision was announced during a school board meeting Tuesday, retired in 2006 but returned in 2007 to serve as assistant superintendent.
Photo courtesy of Roanoke City Public Schools
Vella Wright, Roanoke’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, announced she will retire at the end of June. Said she plans to spend time with family.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
One of Roanoke City Public Schools’ top leaders will retire at the end of June after decades with the school system as a teacher, administrator and even as a student.
Vella Wright, the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, plans to retire this summer to spend more time with her family, including her husband who retired in 2005.
“He has been very patient, and there are lots of things we’d like to do and we just don’t have the time,” she said. “This is a busy place, and the work is very important and I can’t give less than I do.”
Wright, 62, has two adult children and no grandchildren, yet. Her son lives in Florida, and her daughter and her husband in Richmond. Wright and her husband plan to remain in the area but spend more time visiting with their children. Wright also said she’s looking forward to being home in time for dinner once she retires.
“I need to allow a little bit more time and balance in my life with my family,” she said.
It’s not the first time Wright has opted to retire. She did so in 2006, but later came back to the school system after Superintendent Rita Bishop returned in 2007 and asked her to serve as assistant superintendent.
“I jumped at that opportunity,” she said.
When she left in 2006, Wright was executive director for human resources where she served for about a year. Before that she was director of research, testing and evaluation for a decade, a position that was new when she assumed it.
Before that Wright served as mathematics supervisor and math teacher and department chair at Patrick Henry High School.
“I’m an educator at heart. I really believe that it is a profession where you can influence the future,” she said.
Her career started in Botetourt County where she was a teacher for 11 years. Wright is also an alumna of the city schools. She graduated from William Fleming High School.
She said she will miss the people she works with most once she retires.
“For me Roanoke city schools is my extended family and my professional family,” Wright said. “I really will miss my family here .”
Wright will be missed, too. Her retirement was announced during a school board meeting Tuesday where she received a standing ovation and Bishop appeared to already be contemplating ways to keep Wright around in some capacity.
“We do have some thoughts for her return,” Bishop said.
Roanoke school leaders lamented losing Wright.
“Let me say this about Dr. Wright: It’s not only the school system, but the community, that has a lot of respect for you,” board member Annette Lewis said.
Board Chairman David Carson said Wright’s departure hits close to the heart.
“I hope you’re not going to go very far because we’ll miss you a great deal,” he said.
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