The Richmond School Board’s 2020 election ended with Franklin High School’s assistant principal Shonda Harris-Muhammed winning the Sixth District seat.
“I’m extremely blessed to be able to be the School Board elect for the Sixth District. I’m still in awe.” said Harris-Muhammed.
Mrs. Harris-Muhammed has been an educator for nearly 30 years. She previously served as a mathematics teacher, mathematics specialist, and a special education compliance specialist before becoming assistant principal at Franklin High School. While it’s not required that school board members have an educational background, Harris-Muhammad was the only educator on the ballot. “I’ve been a classroom teacher, so I know how they feel,” she said. After previously serving on the Richmond School Board, Harris-Muhammed got the idea to run again when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March and she found out that over 10,400 students went home without a technology device to do their schoolwork and many teachers also did not have the resources needed to teach virtually.
“It’s important that teachers and students have the resources they need. It’s also important that the decisions made by leadership are clear and transparent,” she said. “I chose to run again to be a voice for teachers and students and to ensure that instruction is equitable for all students.” “Mrs. Harris-Muhammed is a thoughtful and visionary leader. We are all excited that she has earned this distinction. I know she will be a champion for the children in Richmond City just like she is for the children of Franklin City” said Dr. Tamara Sterling, Superintendent. Harris-Muhammed says this time on the school board will be different than her last. “I have grown with wisdom that I didn’t have before. That’s not a bad thing,” she said. “I have developed a stronger sense of purpose and maturity. Those things have grown in me and they’re absolutely necessary in leadership. This go around, I have an opportunity to ensure that our policies are equitable.”
Harris-Muhammed says she plans on working with other Richmond School Board members to form a policy committee that is driven by the American Civil Liberties Union, along with local attorneys that deal with student’s civil rights, teachers, and community members. Harris-Muhammed says campaigning during COVID-19 was challenging, however she focused on forming real connections with community members instead of focusing on the money she raised. “I didn’t allow my campaign to be driven by money, I allowed my campaign to be driven by faith,” she said. “I believed that I could, so I did.” “Building relationships is essential to a success story.” she said. Harris-Muhammed has strong ties to the Richmond community; she has lived in the Sixth District of Richmond for over 20 years.
She is also the founder and executive director of Northside Coalition for Children, Inc. which gives free backpacks and school supplies to students and teachers in the Richmond area. Harris-Muhammed is also grateful to Franklin City Public Schools for supporting her in all that she does. “I’m just so grateful to have a Superintendent, School Board and Principal who supports me and stands beside me to make sure I am successful. That is key to my success.”