Dr. Rosa Atkins to Join VDOE

Atkins to Serve as Assistant Superintendent for Talent Acquisition and Development

Dr. Rosa AtkinsDr. Rosa S. Atkins will be joining the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) in the role of Assistant Superintendent for Talent Acquisition and Development starting in July 2021. In this role, Dr. Atkins will serve as the chief human resource officer for the Department of Education and a member of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s cabinet. She has been charged with recruiting, retaining, and supporting a state education agency workforce that is diverse, innovative and fully equipped to advance the agency’s vision for a Commonwealth that maximizes the potential of all learners.

Dr. James F. Lane, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, notes, “Dr. Atkins has provided strong leadership in Charlottesville City Schools for more than 15 years while also lending her expertise to many state level policy discussions to promote student achievement, diversify the educator pipeline, and advance equity for all students. She is nationally recognized as an innovative and effective leader, and we at the VDOE are excited to bring her energy and expertise on board to foster and cultivate a diverse and dynamic state education agency workforce.”

Dr. Atkins has held state and national leadership positions for organizations such as the Virginia Association of Schools Superintendents, the Urban Superintendents Association of America, and Women Education Leaders in Virginia.

Specifically for the Commonwealth of Virginia, she has served on or chaired a number of committees and boards. She is currently completing a term on the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. This past year, she co-chaired Governor Northam’s Commission on African American History Education, which led to significant changes to teacher training, state social studies standards, and more to make Virginia’s schools more inclusive, honest, and supportive. This spring, she is chairing the Virginia’s LEARNS (Leading, Engaging, Assessing, Recovering, Nurturing and Succeeding) work group to guide school divisions’ efforts to help students recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

“I am excited to join the great team that Dr. Lane has assembled at the VDOE—they are doing such good work.” stated Dr. Atkins. “As I shift into a new chapter of my life, I’m happy to join the team and contribute to the success of these initiatives.”

Earlier this month, Dr. Atkins announced her pending retirement from Charlottesville City Schools effective May 31, 2021. She has held the role since 2006. Over the years, she has earned numerous recognitions, including being named one of two national finalists for the 2017 AASA Women in School Leadership Award for Superintendents sponsored by the School Superintendents Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2011, Atkins was named Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, as well as Virginia State University Alumnus of the Year for Professional Education. In 2014, Dr. Atkins was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 Future-Ready Superintendents and invited to the American Association of School Administrators’ Digital Consortium at the White House.

Since Atkins’ arrival in 2006, both student achievement and graduation rates have risen, division student enrollment has grown, and Charlottesville has been consistently recognized as one of the top-performing divisions in the state. Suspension rates have fallen 80 percent and graduation rates for black students have risen 25 points, reaching 96 percent or above for the past two years. Among other innovative initiatives, Charlottesville has invested in technology and STEM while maintaining its commitment to its acclaimed fine arts programs. She also led the division to create a locally-supported preschool program for three-year-olds and has spearheaded greater community partnership for early childhood education. In addition, she has supported the division’s nationally recognized work in social-emotional learning, mental wellness, trauma-informed approaches, and positive student supports. Her commitment to equity has made possible an expanding array of unleveled classes (leading to increased enrollment in honors, advanced placement, and dual enrollment classes), a redesigned gifted education program, and the creation of a dedicated supervisor of equity.