As a product of public schools, a lifelong educator, and an RPS parent, I know how vitally important a well-funded high-quality public education is to achieving the democratic ideals of our nation. I have no idea where I would be without the benefit of a public education delivered by teachers and support staff who truly cared for me as an individual. School was my safe space, and this is something for which I am forever grateful. It is my strong belief that schools should be “hubs of care” for our communities and should offer high quality education, guidance, and support that all children need to thrive. The School Board should do all it can to ensure that this happens.
Stephanie Rizzi was born at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond to parents who were both Church Hill natives. She attended George Mason Elementary School for Head Start and kindergarten before her family moved to Caroline County, Virginia. She had a close relationship with her late grandmother and often returned to Richmond, where she attended East End Middle School (now the site of Franklin Military School), but completed her public school education at Caroline High School. She has been a resident of the City of Richmond for most of her adult life and has lived in her home in the Randolph Neighborhood for close to 20 years. Both of her sons attended Richmond Public Schools, and her youngest is now in the 9th grade.
Stephanie earned her B.A. in Mass Communications (News Editorial) and her M.A. in English Composition Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University; she also completed a 30 credit hour Teaching Endorsement program in English Education through service at George Wythe High School in the 5th District. Stephanie has since been a teacher at every level—2 years at an elementary school, 3 years at a middle school, 6 years at a high school, and now 12 years at the university level as a Focused Inquiry Professor at VCU, her alma mater. She understands the daily realities created for students, teachers, and school staff by policies the school board creates, and knows that educators’ commitment to students does not end when the school day does.
Stephanie has been an active volunteer in RPS and has been an advocate for children her entire career. She is a past president of the Randolph Community Group where she worked hard to represent and fight for the best interests of her community, especially where the needs of children were concerned. Living in Randolph, she is at the intersection of issues all Richmonders–especially those in the 5th–face: relations between longtime and newer residents, the need for government investment in public services and goods.
She is an advocate for making sure children are supported by their communities, public services, and their schools, and she is running to continue the fight for social, educational, and economic equity by representing 5th District Richmonders on the school board. She believes the school board is an important institution for community-based decision-making, and she knows that if students, parents and teachers work together: