Name: Cardell Patillo, Jr.

Biography: Cardell Patillo, Jr., is a Portsmouth native who was first elected to the city’s School Board in 2014. Over four years, he has served on the finance and technology committees. He is also the executive director of Virginia Beach’s Head Start Program.

1. Why should residents re-elect you to the School Board?

When I decided to run for Portsmouth School Board 4 years ago, I did so with the passion of “Putting Children First.” Our schools were in disrepair, our educators were discouraged and our students suffered most by actions out of their control. 

Shortly after being elected, I was proud to vote on bringing Dr. Elie Bracy from North Carolina to lead Portsmouth Public Schools to new levels that would make our city more competitive through public education. When I first began on school board, we had only 6 schools fully accredited. As of today, I am proud to share that the number has increased to 14. Our efforts of “Keeping Children First” are evident in the increased success in our school division. 

We are investing in our educators more now than ever, and over the last 4 years, we have given teachers 3 raises and look forward to continuing the support in efforts to attract the best and brightest across the Commonwealth.

I was appointed to the Virginia Public School Authority by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2016. Through my appointment to the Virginia Public School Authority, I have casts votes that have directed over 1.2 million in e-notes to the school division. Those funds were used to expand wi-fi into our elementary schools and to fund our 1 to 1 chromebook initiative.

I was recently awarded the Benjamin Mays Lifetime Achievement award by the National School Board Association for my advocacy and work with students in urban school divisions. 

Though we have done a lot for our children over the last 4 years, we still have much more to do. I refuse to rest until we make Portsmouth Schools the high achieving division that we should be. This is why I am soliciting the support of my community to be re-elected to the Portsmouth School Board. 

2. What would you do to improve school security? 

I have had the honor to serve on the Governors Children’s cabinet to address this very issue. We have come together a number of times on what policies and procedures should be implemented at the state level to ensure our children have a safe environment to learn in. There are other remedies to protect our children in school rather than to arm teachers, such as increasing the number of social workers and school psychologists which I shared in the Governor’s work group. This would also help to curve the mental health issues we have with our students, which also leads to unsafe schools. I look forward to not only implementing these ideas to make Portsmouth Schools safer, but also to schools across the Commonwealth. 

3. How would you invest in technology and improve its applications in your schools? 

Outside of the 1.2 million in state funding that I helped the school division to receive through the Public School Authority, we have also replaced all computers within all 19 schools. In addition to replacing computers for our students, our teachers and administrators received new surface tablets to assist in training and lesson preparation.

4. What are the most challenging aspects of being a teacher in your community? How would you support your teachers through these challenges? 

  • Standardized Testing
  • Student Attendance
  • Parental Involvement

To address these issues I will continue to vote on increasing funding for resources when requested by staff and the expansion of Title 1 programs to increase parental involvement. I am currently on the Parent and Family Engagement committee at John Tyler Elementary and Park View Elementary Schools. This committee puts a focus on how to keep families engaged in efforts to increase student attendance.

5. What would you do to better support your vulnerable students? For example, those who live in poverty. 

Did you know that many children start the school year off behind due to the lack of summer reading? Three years ago I instituted a Literacy Program entitled “Cardell’s Weekly Reads”. This program was to encourage children to read over the summer break to avoid the “summer slump.” Through this program I also set up stations in low -income areas and gave away over 500 books to students. This program was actually covered this year by WAVY 10 and WTKR.

Four years ago, I promised to create an effective mentoring program. The Cardell Patillo Leadership Academy has enrolled over 240 young men in Portsmouth Public Schools to date. Also, Portsmouth Public Schools is in the front seat to ensuring our students are receiving competitive workforce development training. Since serving on the School Board, we have added an additional 5 courses to Career Technical Education (CTE) to ensure that we are giving our future leaders the tools needed to be successful.

 6. What are your top three budget priorities?

My top three budget priorities will continue to be:

1. Increasing staff pay in an effort to retain and attract the best in the area.

2. Increasing our CTE (career and technical education) offerings

3. Increase instructional funding in an effort to enhance student outcomes and decrease class sizes