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October 29, 2021 View as Webpage

Giving Back to Stark County - the Community that Gave So Much to Me
It is with great respect for the past, a determination to understand and appreciate current issues, and an enthusiastic desire to positively impact Stark County’s future that I begin my tenure as President of the Stark Education Partnership (SEP). In Stark County I had the privilege of beginning my teaching career at Sandy Valley, which happens to be my alma mater, as well as leading Perry Local Schools as its superintendent for eight years, subsequently serving at the state level which positively broadened my perspective. So, now, the opportunity to return and serve the community that has given so much to me, is an honor and a chance to give back.

Currently, as a “cradle to career” organization, the Partnership focuses on four areas:

  1. Preparing children for school success through education beginning with prenatal care
  2. Preparing Stark County’s high school graduates to experience success in their next step beyond high school
  3. Increasing degree and certificate attainment
  4. Providing research and evaluation to improve education practices and outcomes

In 2022, SEP’s Board of Directors and I will engage with business, education and community participants in a strategic planning process so that we remain relevant and impactful for the benefit of Stark County’s students and workforce. While our focus on the above four areas resonates with SEP’s mission, we’ll be evaluating and adjusting current strategies through listening and engagement with stakeholders. With the outstanding, committed team here at SEP, we look forward to bringing continued value to our students and greater community as we identify and implement those strategies.

To best prepare myself for the formal process of strategic planning and to build relationships, I am reaching out to numerous individuals and organizations throughout the community over the next few months - including many of you reading this issue! Please feel free to contact me at to set up a time to meet and discuss how we as an organization can support the current and future needs of our great Stark County.

Here’s a bit of personal information about me, in case you’re curious…

  • Any success with which I’ve been blessed is a result of God’s generosity and the foundations that were laid here in Stark County, in particular those established by my parents, John & Charlotte Richard. My father began his career in the pipe shop at Timken, leading to a long career as a small business owner. My mother came from blue collar roots, and was the first family member to earn her college degree while also raising three children. They set a great example, and have remained committed to the community their entire lives, currently residing in North Canton.
  • I am married to Kim, with five children and eight grandchildren. I’ll be happy to share grandchildren pictures upon request!
  • Participating in scouting as a young person developed a deeper love for the outdoors, with which I am naturally inclined. I am an avid runner and bike rider, love hiking in the Rocky Mountains annually, and enjoy time on our pontoon boat at Atwood Lake.

I look forward to meeting with many of you in the near future, and am honored to return and contribute to the great work being accomplished in Stark County!
The Stark Education Partnership (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) collaborates with education, business, civic and community members across the entire spectrum – cradle to career – to create and respond to opportunities that will provide ALL students with education and career success.