MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - "We are a diverse nation and we want to reflect diversity in our staff and everything we do," Interim Superintendent, Dr. Zebde Talley, said when asked why the school district is pursuing more diversity among teachers and staff.
More than 2,000 students make up the Martinsville City School district.
Nearly 60 percent are African American, but the school board feels that the teachers and staff do not reflect that so they have discussed with Dr. Talley ways to increase diversity as the district seeks to fill several open positions.
As a result, Dr. Talley is trying to reach out to community organizations for potential applicants.
"We're willing to work with any group to help us get qualified teachers," Dr. Talley emphasized.
Naomi Hodge-Muse is the president of the local NAACP chapter, one of the organizations the school district is reaching out to.
"It is egregious that our school system was allowed to deteriorate in the first place. It is egregious that one year they had 25 hires and not one minority. These things were brought up at the city council and at the city school board," Hodge-Muse explained.
She questions why so much attention is just now being paid to the issue after an African American was appointed interim superintendent when the school district has been trying to grapple with the issue for the past three years, but regardless she hopes this will finally bring what she believes is much needed change.
"We need young men, both black and white. Please, volunteer. Put your application in. Come and be a teacher in the city of Martinsville," Hodge-Muse stressed.
Dr. Talley encourages any organizations or individuals with suggestions for potential applicants to contact the school board office or visit the district's website.
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