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William Hopkins Jr. knows well city schools and the students they serve.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
William Hopkins Jr. will join the Roanoke City School Board with the same quality that unites its members: the sincere belief that any child, no matter his circumstances, will succeed if given a proper education.
Roanoke City Council on Monday appointed Hopkins to fill the unexpired term of David Carson, who is departing the school board to become a circuit court judge. Council selected Hopkins from a field of stellar candidates in which no decision would have been wrong, only different. Though we expressed preference for another candidate, we are heartened by all that Hopkins had to say during his interview with city council.
Hopkins stands out in today’s educational world that has migrated toward the belief that a heavy emphasis must be placed on the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — with the occasional hyphenated “H” tossed in for health-related fields. To Hopkins, though, the “H” stands for the Humanities.
He believes an educational background rich in history, reading, art and music is necessary not only for adults to face down whatever challenges pop into their life — but to enjoy life. A forward-thinking viewpoint that could catapult economically challenged youth into a future not as fraught with the struggles of their present circumstances. Humanities isn’t a lofty pursuit tossed in after the mastery of the basics; it is a basic foundation for a well-rounded, contributing citizenry. Hopkins views this as a means to break the cycle of poverty.
He said students will handle whatever life brings if they can communicate well and are able to work in a group to solve problems and get things done. Also the exact skill set Hopkins will need on the school board.
Hopkins also brings familiarity. He attended city schools, his wife taught at Crystal Spring Elementary, his three daughters graduated with a “first-rate” education from Patrick Henry, and two of them are teachers. He acquired management and financial skills as a member of a board overseeing 16 nursing homes. And he also expressed the same lawyerly skills that Carson wielded to smooth animosity that existed between the school board and council and with the public.
We wish Hopkins well.
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