PETERSBURG, Va. -- After three years at the helm of Petersburg Public Schools, Dr. Marcus Newsome will retire June 30.
His job in Petersburg was to turn the school system around as the city was falling into a deep financial crisis.
"I knew that there were challenges coming in," Dr. Newsome said in an exclusive television interview with CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil. "[But] I was a bit naive about how daunting the challenges were at the time."
When Dr. Newsome took the job, only one school was fully accredited. He leaves with all schools accredited, with four accredited with conditions.
Though his tenure is coming to an end, Newsome has a long list of accomplishments in his short time there, including bringing student reading levels up 22 percent higher than when he took the job. The school system has been recognized with a business award for excellence in financing.
Under his watch, a teacher residency program and assistant principal's leadership academy were put in place.
There are 200+ members in the City and Schools partnership and they are close to having 1000 volunteers in schools.
When Dr. Newsome took the job, he asked his executive-level employees to reapply for their jobs and "None of them reapplied," he said.
"I had the opportunity, for the first time in my career, to recruit a leadership team of individuals that I was comfortable with that their philosophies aligned to the high expectations we had," he said.
Newsome also said he believed the public needed to take a good, long look at Petersburg Public School students.
"I want people to know that Petersburg has great kids, we have lovely children here," he said. "We have just some amazing students that I have come to love and respect and appreciate."
The Superintendent also said he wished more could have been done, but that they have accomplished as much as they could with what they have, adding he believes the school system is halfway through the turnaround process.