Richard M. Jessie, Occoquan District

Richard M. Jessie

Occoquan District

About Richard M. Jessie

Richard M. Jessie, aka “Jessie,” has an incredible life story that has given him a unique perspective on community service and the importance of education. He was often the only Black in his elementary and high school classes. Jessie and his mentally disabled sister lost their mother, their father, and their grandmother before he was in high school. Jessie never had anyone at home who could read or assist with his education. However, the community encouraged him and told him he was special. Now, he wants to serve the community that served him.

Jessie’s leadership skills and the ability to excel were demonstrated when he joined the Marine Corps upon graduation from high school. He never envisioned himself going to college, so once in the Marines, he was determined to find a way to become an officer. In less than four years, Jessie achieved that goal. He was the only African American in his two officer training schools and graduated as the Honor Man in his assigned units. He served three tours in Vietnam and was one of the Officer In Charge of a Marine detachment assigned to a civil cargo ship that evacuated Vietnamese during the evacuation of Vietnam. Jessie received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.

Persistence is also a pervasive trait. In the Marine Corps, Jessie completed two years of college via correspondence courses and night school. While remaining on active duty, Jessie was selected to finish the remaining two years of college. Jessie attended George Washington University and graduated with an accounting degree. Jessie finished his Marine Corps career as an instructor in the Leadership Department at Quantico and resigned his commission as a Major.

After his Marine Corps career, Jessie worked as a Human Resource Equal Opportunity Manager for The MITRE Corporation and as a senior individual contributor for Lockheed Martin Corporation. Jessie retired from Lockheed Martin in 2015.

As a decorated veteran, he knows the importance of service and community. As a successful corporate manager, he understands the importance of fairness and equal opportunities. And as a passionate education advocate, he knows the value of a quality education for all students.

Jessie is married to Lillie Jessie, the former Occoquan District School Board representative who served for 11 years. Before that, Mrs. Jessie was an award-winning Title I Supervisor and the award-winning principal of Elizabeth Vaughan Elementary School. During her tenure as an education consultant, Jessie attended all of her presentations and many of the other associates’ presentations. All presenters advocated for “all” students to learn at a high level. Jessie firmly believes that all students can learn at a high level.

During the last 11 years, Jessie has become a fixture at most board meetings. He successfully organized community input and was known to address unpopular issues or contradicted other speakers with opposing positions. Jessie was and is active in the political community, assuming several leadership positions. In the November 2023 election, Jessie was elected to replace Mrs. Jessie.

The Jessies have two adult daughters, both of whom went to and graduated from Prince William County Public Schools.

Occoquan District Schools