Richmond County School Superintendent Frank Roberson is now well enough to fulfill all responsibilities of his position after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain condition 19 months ago, according to Roberson’s physician.
His doctor provided a right to work letter, which was presented to the Richmond County Board of Education at a called meeting Tuesday.
The board voted to schedule a meeting within the next two weeks to review Roberson’s last evaluation and establish priorities and goals for the superintendent.
“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,” Roberson said after the vote. “This is a very exciting moment for me to be able to get back and continue to carry out the work that needs to be done.”
Roberson said his main priority is student achievement. At the board’s last retreat, Roberson said the district needs to focus on teacher training and 15-day assessments to monitor student progress.
The school district dealt with a long, uncertain period before his physician gave Roberson full clearance to return.
He underwent emergency brain surgery in February 2011 for an arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain often present since birth but undetected until later in life.
Roberson’s then-deputy, James Whitson, worked as acting superintendent until he retired June 30, and had to take over balancing a cash-strapped budget and several state funding changes to the pre-Kindergarten program among other issues.
Roberson returned to work in December on a part-time basis. The board voted to place him on an eight-week trial period this summer, where Roberson gradually increased his workload until he was working a full-time schedule.
Board member Jimmy Atkins said he is excited to have Roberson back full time so the district can move forward with improvement.
“We’ve got a long way to go, and we need to start turning these schools around,” he said.
Board member Marion Barnes said the main goals he would like to discuss with Roberson in the evaluation meeting are graduation rates, test scores and finding more math teachers.
Barnes said he’d also like to reexamine ways to cut back the furlough days and get class sizes back to normal.
“We’re cutting our students short,” Barnes said. “They’re missing four to five days, and we’ve go to find a way to fix it.”