Getting to Know Eric Richards
Interim Principal at Cherry Valley Elementary
Though being a school principal has its own unique set of challenges, the idea of arriving several months after a school year has started, and serving as an interim principal, does not sound merely challenging, but rather daunting. However, for Cherry Valley Elementary interim principal, Eric Richards, he brings more than a decade’s worth of administrative experience to the school, and has hit the ground running since joining Riverview in January.
Stepping in for Roxanne Luchini, currently on maternity leave through the remainder of the year, Mr. Richards has found the transition go as smoothly as possible.
“I have absolutely loved Cherry Valley and the Riverview School District. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and supportive,” Mr. Richards shares.
After more than a decade in the classroom as an elementary and multi-age teacher, Mr. Richards became the Dean of Students for Wildwood Elementary in Federal Way Public Schools. After serving for two years in that role, he became a principal at Park Lodge Elementary in the Clover Park School District and Park Orchard Elementary in the Kent School District.
Most recently, he worked as a Principal on Special Assignment in Kent, working as a leader in Student and Family Support Services and was a driving force behind the implementation of PBIS â€“ Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports â€“ a series of positive-tiered practices and procedures designed to help all students achieve academic and social success.
“Throughout my years of teaching and working with kids, I came to understand how critical emotional health is to learning and feeling safe at school,” Mr. Richards says. And in doing so, he remembers back to the first influences in his life that led to a career devoted to education.
“I have been in education since 1993, nearly 25 years. My parents were educators and I saw how they were able to make a difference in the lives of kids. I wanted to continue their legacy and support student academic and social/emotional success. My entire career has been dedicated to helping students succeed.”
Whether serving on a diverse range of committees around curriculum adoption, organizing events which bring students and parents together to share in learning, or in receiving the Outstanding Advocate Award from his local PTSA in 2013, Mr. Richards’ focus is, first and foremost, student-driven.
“The opportunities within a smaller school district are numerous and incredibly beneficial to students and educators,” he says. “Every student is unique and special, and it is incumbent upon me and the adults in their life to support their gifts.”
Increasingly more settled into the pace and the atmosphere at Cherry Valley, Mr. Richards has been not only impressed by the students, but also the community he interacts with each and every day.
“When you know people are vested in you becoming your best, it fosters and reinforces your desire to excel and help others succeed,” he shares with great optimism. “Cherry Valley is a special place. There is a passion for success and excellence which gives me confidence all our students will succeed and grow. We will do great things this year.”