At today’s State Board of Education (State Board) meeting, board members accepted the recommendation made by Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven to continue with a transition of the Riverview Gardens School District Special Administrative Board (SAB) governance to a seven-member local governing board. The State Board re-appointed three SAB members and appointed two new members, setting a staggered final term of office for the five appointed members to expire no later than June 30, 2024, allowing for their transition off the SAB through local elections in April 2023 and 2024.

The three SAB members re-appointed today are Veronica Morrow-Reel, Reggie Jones, and Mary F. Oswald. The two new SAB members are Tommie Harsley III and Shannon Holt. Harsley and Holt will fill the SAB seats of Lynn Beckwith Jr. and Miranda Avant-Elliot.

Harsley is the pastor of Grace New Covenant Church in St. Louis. As a practicing attorney for more than 30 years, Harsley has devoted a significant portion of his career to advising and representing faith-based and charitable organizations.

Holt is a respected spiritual leader and a dedicated community spokesperson, who also serves as an Alderman in the City of Dellwood. Holt currently works as a teacher for the Special School District of St. Louis.

During the State Board meeting December 2021, the State Board approved Commissioner Vandeven’s recommendation to begin a transition to return the district to local governance, which allowed voters to have the opportunity to elect two new members — Niketia Coleman and Wanda Lane — to the SAB in April 2022.

Riverview Gardens is currently provisionally accredited. The SAB is charged with providing leadership and governance to set academic achievement expectations and a timeline for reaching full accreditation.