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New Richmond School Superintendent promises full accreditation by 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Former Washington D.C. public school administrator Jason Kamras took the oath of office as Richmond's newest school superintendent on Thursday.

"The families of RPS, thank you for entrusting me with the extraordinary offer of serving your children," Kamras said in both English and Spanish to the standing-room only crowd.

Kamras, along with his wife and two sons, was sworn-in on his grandfather's bible by Judge Edward Jewett on the 17th floor at City Hall.

The 43-year-old educator's resume includes more than 20 years in education, first as a middle school math teacher and most recently as Transitional Chief of the Office of Equity for Washington, D.C. Public Schools.

The Princeton and Harvard graduate created and implemented programs for D.C. schools to recruit, develop, and retain teachers.

On Monday, Kamras will present his 100-day plan to the Richmond School Board. His plan is based on three core principles: engagement, equity, and excellence.

"I want us to create a school system in which every Richmond parent would be happy randomly assigning their children to any Richmond school," Kamras said.

He inherits a school system in desperate need of facility upgrades. He called on Richmond City Council to pass Mayor Levar Stoney's proposal to increase Richmond's meals tax from 6 percent to 7.5 percent. Mayor Stoney argued the increase would bring in an additional $9 million to repair and rebuild deteriorating schools.

"Our kids need better facilities," Kamras said. "That's what I would want for my kids and my kids will be RPS students."

Dietra Trent, former Secretary of Education under Gov. Terry McAuliffe, believed Virginians as a whole have a duty to help under-performing and urban schools like in Richmond.

"We are at a position in our government and state government, particularly, but also local government where we got to find innovative ways bring in more resources for our schools," Trent explained.

Kamras also promised to achieve accreditation for all Richmond schools within five years.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, the City of Richmond has 19 fully-accredited schools, six partially-accredited schools, and 19 schools that were denied accreditation.

"I'm very optimistic that it can be done," said A. Ramon Moore, president of Richmond Education Association. "We as teachers are going to help him make sure all schools are fully accredited."

Kamras is married to an educator and has first and third grade sons who'll attend Richmond Public Schools.

This is Kamras first time as a superintendent of a school division.