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Portsmouth School Board Member Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award

September 28, 2018

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is pleased to announce Cardell C. Patillo, Jr., board member and Finance Chair of the Portsmouth, Virginia School Board, winner of the 2018 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual who, through their service as a local school board member, has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to representing the educational needs of urban schoolchildren. Patillo was presented with the award on September 28th, during the CUBE Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The challenges that threaten student success in urban school districts continue to be significant, and Cardell Patillo, Jr. has demonstrated his commitment to the educational achievement of children in Portsmouth, Virginia,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director and CEO. “Through his service to the Portsmouth Board of Education and to educational enrichment programs in the community, Cardell is working to fulfill the promise of a high-quality education for all children. On behalf of NSBA, I offer my congratulations and thank Cardell for being an advocate and champion for student success.”

For over two decades, Patillo has been an active force in and for his community ranging from participating in weekly general assembly sessions and advocating for school funding to establishing a mentoring program that fosters male students’ participation in leadership and cultural activities.

Patillo began his service on the Portsmouth School Board in 2015, and, during his term, has held positions as Finance Chair, and Operations and Technology Chair. While on the board, he established the “Budget Tour,” which involved meeting with staff at every school in the district to discuss budgeting needs.

Prior to his work with the Portsmouth School Board, Patillo served as the Youth and Adult Pastor for the Grove Baptist Church for 12 years. Patillo currently serves as the Executive Director and CEO of a community development group that helps prepare children and their families for lifelong learning.

“Mr. Benjamin Mays was a transformative leader in both civil rights and education movements,” said Micah Ali, CUBE Chair and President of the Compton United School District Board of Education. “One of the ways CUBE continues his legacy is to honor educational leaders of impact whose efforts make an undeniable difference in the lives of students. They too are civil rights activists, working to ensure urban school children have access to a quality education and the life opportunities it affords. We are therefore honored to bestow this award to Cardell Patillo, who exemplifies the legacy of Mr. Benjamin Mays.”

Joe Dillard Jr., President of the Norfolk Chapter of the NAACP, in recommending Patillo, said that he is a “community champion and hero to many.” “I’ve found him to be a man of great character and his integrity is above reproach,” said Dillard. “Many talk the talk, but Cardell Patillo, Jr., definitely walks the walk.”

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by CUBE to an individual who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to representing the educational needs of urban schoolchildren through their service as a local school board member.

More information on CUBE, and past winners of the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is available on CUBE’s webpage.

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school board associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S.

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