It may not be shuttered, but changes are coming at Armstrong High School at the start of next school year.
The school’s principal, April Hawkins, citing personal reasons, will not return to her post when classes begin in the fall.
A statement from Richmond Public Schools' spokeswoman Cletisha Lovelace said that Hawkins will "continue to serve [RPS] in a leadership capacity," and will see Armstrong through its transition to a new principal.
Hawkins served as Armstrong’s principal for five years. Over that period, the school’s graduation rate increased by more than 20 percentage points to 80 percent. However, the gains still leave the school below the 85 percent benchmark the state requires of high schools. As a result, Armstrong was the only high school in the city last year that did not achieve at least partial accreditation.
The division posted a listing for the vacancy on its website last month. Currently, there are seven openings for principals in the district. RPS is soliciting community input through a community survey as part of the search process, saying it wants feedback from parents and others on the "skills and attributes they value most in their next leader." As of Thursday, only 18 people had taken the survey, prompting an extension until Friday, June 10, Lovelace said.
Earlier this spring, the Richmond School Board considered closing the high school and four others to save $3 million. The board ditched the proposal after RPS administrators presented an alternative plan to close the division’s $10.7 million budget shortfall.