My history teacher is running for mayor: A chat with Chad Ingold

Intern Chris sits down with his history teacher and quizzes him on how he’d like to run the city. Oh, how the tables have turned!

Photo by: BullionVault

Does the phrase “Bring your hammer” remind you of anyone? If not, then you maybe haven’t been keeping up with the recent mayoral candidate race. But if that phrase does ring a bell then well done! You are actively politically aware of your local government processes!

One of 16-ish1 mayoral candidates this year, Chad ingold made waves at Doug Wilder’s mayoral candidate forum by responding to a question about whether or not the Civil War monuments should come down with “Bring your own hammer!” But that’s not his entire platform in the least. He hopes to realign the City’s focus beyond just gaining capital, halt what he sees as the destruction of Richmond Public Schools, and integrate our city to reverse the heavy harms of Massive Resistance.

Chad Ingold (perhaps recognized most by his coined catchphrases and hashtags “#Ingoldwetrust” and “#Investingold”) is a 29-year resident of Richmond and has been teaching in Richmond Public Schools for the past 14 years. He started his teaching career at the former Mosby Middle School (currently Martin Luther King Jr. Middle school) and eventually earned his M.A. in history before teaching at Open High School.

After sitting down with Ingold and discussing views about the current state of our beloved city, I found it easy to view him as a man of the people. Ingold is a husband and a father of three kids (a daughter and twin boys). He is a firm believer in practicality, which he feels is a trait necessary in both a public school teacher and a mayor. While noticing overlapping qualities between the two careers, Ingold also acknowledges the differences between the two jobs, the biggest of which is the power of influence and leadership.

Chris Bolling: What qualities would you say makes a good public school teacher and in comparison what qualities make a good mayor?

Chad Ingold: A good teacher should have strong self-efficacy, a good teacher should know that what they’re doing is effective, therefore it should be research-based. A good teacher should truly love kids, which I think is something that a lot of people don’t think about before they get into the job. I think a good teacher should teach students things that are relevant to the subject matter and can readily prepare them when they leave the school building–not just senior year, but at the end of the day…

Certainly similar things would help a good mayor, but more importantly, a good mayor should be a leader, inside and out of City Hall. I currently see our city as racially and socioeconomically divided, and I have observed that City Hall is an environment where people can come together to create dialogue crossing racial and socioeconomic lines to better our city.

— ∮∮∮ —

Ingold noticed that the aftermath of Massive Resistance is still heavily present, and he feels that this, among other factors, explains the downward state of Richmond Public Schools.

While the federal government ruled “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional in the 1950s, some local government officials did what they could to resist, in many places opening separate whites-only private schools. And despite the closing or integrating of those so-called “segregation academies,” a move which many would argue to be the end of Massive Resistance, in Richmond there is still a remaining underlying disenfranchisement within the public school sector and an evident privilege within the private schools and surrounding counties.

As we continued on the topic of educational restoration, I realized two things about Chad Ingold as an individual. 1) Beyond just teaching history to students as his daytime job, he actually does understand and comprehend history and the effects that our history can still have on us, still, as we live out our present-day lives. 2) Despite his lack of experience in local government positions, Chad Ingold is able to articulate his own reasoning for answers without being condescending and lacking transparency.

CB: So why do you choose to focus on the Richmond education system and not availability of jobs or affordable housing as key points of needed revitalization?

CI: As a city, I think that [education] is a key for rising opportunity. It’s helpful that we can approach change, positive social change, and I think one place that we can approach change is within the schools. Schools can serve as a type of battleground for social change that we hope to implement. So not just schools but education can be a great way to lift people out of poverty, reduce crime, and allow our city to become the unified city that we would like to see.

— ∮∮∮ —

With this vision in mind and a willingness to endure challenging situations Chad Ingold still looks hopeful towards the future. He also is a huge proponent of Gandhi and his methods and motives. In fact, when asked who were his three favorite historical figures, Gandhi was the first name to be said without hesitation, almost as if he were expecting that question. Ingold’s appreciation for Gandhi’s work shined through as he explained more about the rough history of education in Richmond, while also being cautious of the direction in which we are headed as a city and how young people (and older folks) can become more involved in the city.

CB: How would you say young people could become more involved in the city?

CI: I think by creating youth-led non-violence coalitions to help lower crime rates, and to promote compassion and empathy, instead of promoting violent crimes, especially gun-related crimes.

— ∮∮∮ —

Though his goals and aspiration may seem lofty and/or far-out, Chad Ingold knows what he knows and he knows it well. And not only does he know it, but he believes in it as well.

And now to lighten the mood, I’d like to point out that Chad Ingold also raps! Here’s proof:

  1. The filing deadline is June 14th. 
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Chris Bolling

Air breather, food eater, coffee drinker. And the newest intern at RVANews.

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