RADFORD, Va. – A hopeful show of support, ending in defeat.
On Tuesday, dozens gathered outside of the Radford City School Board office putting on a united front for Superintendent Dr. Robert Graham who resigned during the meeting.
Former board member Lee Slusher says Graham was essentially pushed out by the board - saying they don’t approve of his leadership.
“I thought he was treated very disrespectfully. I’ve been appalled that they have played like twelve-year-olds on Facebook, quoting scripture and defending themselves,” Slusher said.
Parents and teachers like Andrea Rackaway rallying around Graham.
“We have the best of the best guiding us. From my perspective, he’s always been a very strong advocate for teachers, so we’re out here tonight to show him that support is reciprocated, and we are here for him, and all of the administration in all of our buildings,” Rackaway said.
Graham was moved to tears when he arrived to a cheering crowd of supporters.
“I knew there was going to be some show of support here, but I never thought it would be anything like that. And I’m just overwhelmed with it,” Graham said.
The board met in closed session for an hour and a half, discussing the resignation with Graham and his lawyer.
Supporters, not budging.
“Whether he chooses to stay, leave or they fire him, I have no idea what’s going to happen. This community, and you can see, is so much in support of him,” Slusher said. “His staff loves him, his central office staff over here loves him. He cares more about kids than any educator I’ve ever known.”
In the end, Graham’s resignation was announced, effective June 30.
But Graham says he is proud to always be a Bobcat.
“We’re a very close-knit community and we thrive on collaboration with each other, and being unified and making sure we take care of each other and making sure if there’s a Bobcat in distress, we go to their side to protect and help,” Graham said.
Just a few short months ago, Graham was named Region VII Superintendent of the Year. He has served as superintendent for eight years and was being recognized for his unwavering commitment to creating a school environment where there is “Excellence in Education, Every Student, Every Day.”
We asked the school board for comment after the meeting tonight, but they declined.