The chairman of the Hanover County School Board has resigned.
Roger Bourassa on Friday submitted his resignation from the board to Board of Supervisors Chairman Canova Peterson, according to a news release from Hanover County Public Schools. He cited personal reasons in his letter of resignation.
“It has been my sincere honor to serve on the School Board, and I am grateful to Mr. Peterson and the Board of Supervisors for this opportunity,” Bourassa said in a statement.
He said in his resignation letter: “Due to strictly personal reasons I am no longer able to perform my duties with the focus and dedication I require and the community deserves.”
Bourassa told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an email Friday evening: “This was a difficult decision but one that is best for me and my family.”
He was initially appointed to the School Board in 2014, representing the Mechanicsville District. The board tapped him to serve as chairman this year after being the vice chairman for the past two. He currently serves as the vice chairman of the governing board for CodeRVA, a regional magnet school in Richmond to which Hanover sends 24 students.
Bourassa’s term was set to expire June 30, 2022. Instead he’ll vacate the seat Dec. 31.
“Mr. Bourassa has served our students and community with honor and distinction,” Peterson said in a statement. “I have enjoyed working with Roger and could not have asked for a more dedicated appointee to represent our district on the School Board.”
Peterson added: “I am grateful for his many contributions to ensure our school division remains a leader in education. While I will miss him, I understand and respect his decision. He will be difficult to replace.”
As the Mechanicsville District representative, Bourassa represented two schools, Lee-Davis High and Stonewall Jackson Middle, at the center of a lawsuit from the county’s chapter of the NAACP.
That lawsuit, filed in August, said the names violate the constitutional rights of black students and their families by making them feel unwelcome and creating an unequal learning environment.
The board, led by Bourassa, opted against resolving the lawsuit at a meeting last month.
Last year, Bourassa and four other members of the seven-member School Board voted to keep the school names amid calls for them to change.
According to the school system, the Board of Supervisors will solicit nominations for the seat “in the coming weeks.” In Hanover, the Board of Supervisors appoints members of the School Board.