A Letter from New Superintendent Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.

Dear Staff, Students, Families, & Community Partners of Charlottesville City Schools,

It is an honor to be joining such an amazing team! I have already seen first-hand the labor of love that goes into ensuring the success of students and the school division. I want to assure you that as your superintendent, my goal is to propel us to even higher heights. I have created a 100 Day Entry Plan to guide my first months in Charlottesville.  In this plan, you will find that I have prioritized my first 100 days into the following focus areas:

  • Culture of Care,
  • Student Achievement,
  • Equity, and
  • Safe Schools.

100 Day Superintendent Entry Plan - Image links to planAs you will read, I have divided the focus areas into two categories, “Listen” and “Learn”. By creating two categories, this will give me the opportunity to engage various stakeholders in conversations relative to those areas. Moreover, by listening and learning new information from the proposed actions, I will be more informed in my decision-making in the near future.

I consider my first 100 days vitally important to my transition to Charlottesville City Schools (CCS) as this time will help me establish relationships with the schools and community, understand the inner workings of CCS, and communicate my vision for EXCELLENCE!

Best Regards,

Royal A. Gurley, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent


Dr. Gurley being announced as Charlottesville Superintendent
Photo credit: Erin Edgerton/Daily Progress

Charlottesville City School Board Names Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr. New Superintendent (September 2, 2021)

The Charlottesville City School Board warmly welcomes Royal A. Gurley, Jr., Ed.D. as the new superintendent. Dr. Gurley is an educator and equity ambassador with 20 years of experience who is committed to transformational leadership that prioritizes access and opportunities to learn for all students. Dr. Gurley will begin the post on October 4 with a four-year contract.

Dr. Gurley will become the superintendent in Charlottesville after serving as the assistant superintendent for academic services of the Dinwiddie County Public Schools since 2017. There, in addition to maintaining 100% accreditation for all the district’s schools, he focused efforts and resources to support the goal of students reading on level by grade three. He also organized an equity task force that evaluated school policies and curriculum through a lens of cultural relevance and inclusivity.

“I am honored and thrilled to be joining the outstanding Charlottesville City Schools,” said Dr. Gurley. “Among CCS’s many resources are the phenomenal faculty and staff, and I look forward to working with this dedicated team in an ongoing effort to address the needs and build on the strengths of every student we serve.”

Read Full Press Release here

Charlottesville City School Board Names Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr. New Superintendent

CHARLOTTESVILLE, September 2, 2021— The Charlottesville City School Board has named Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr., Ed.D. the new superintendent as the first order of business at its 5 p.m. meeting today. Dr. Gurley is an educator and equity ambassador with 20 years of experience who is committed to transformational leadership that prioritizes access and opportunities to learn for all students. Dr. Gurley will begin the post on October 4 with a four-year contract.

Dr. Gurley will become the superintendent in Charlottesville after serving as the assistant superintendent for academic services of the Dinwiddie County Public Schools since 2017. There, in addition to maintaining 100% accreditation for all the district’s schools, he focused efforts and resources to support the goal of students reading on level by grade three. He also organized an equity task force that evaluated school policies and curriculum through a lens of cultural relevance and inclusivity.

Dr. Gurley’s career also includes being a building administrator, director of special education, instructional technology integrator, teacher, and member of the armed forces.

“I am honored and thrilled to be joining the outstanding Charlottesville City Schools,” said Dr. Gurley. “Among CCS’s many resources are the phenomenal faculty and staff, and I look forward to working with this dedicated team in an ongoing effort to address the needs and build on the strengths of every student we serve.”

“We are so pleased to welcome Dr. Gurley,” said Lisa Larson-Torres, chair of the School Board. “The Board is united in our support. In a pool of very strong candidates, we felt his interpersonal skills, his division-level administrative experience, and his deep commitment to equity reflected the community feedback we heard. Thanks to everyone who lifted their voice in a survey, a focus group, or by serving on the committee.”

In addition to his leadership in Dinwiddie, Dr. Gurley currently serves in statewide roles as a member of the Virginia Department of Education Equity Task Force and Return to School Task Force. He is also a committee member for the Virginia Social Emotional Learning Stakeholder Workgroup.

Dr. Gurley earned his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from Virginia State University. Additionally, he earned a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Instructional Technology and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. Most recently, Dr. Gurley completed the Urban Superintendents Academy at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Gurley and his husband, Derrek Carter-Gurley, will be relocating to Charlottesville with their labradoodle, Cooper. Dr. Gurley is a native of Sussex County, Virginia and an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

Dr. Gurley succeeds Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, who concluded her 15-year tenure as superintendent this summer to take a leadership role with the Virginia Department of Education. James M. Henderson, who served for more than four decades as an educator with the Charlottesville City Schools, came out of retirement to serve as acting superintendent. The recruiting and hiring process was guided by executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA). To learn more about the search process, scroll down.


illustration of org chart with leaderHYA Presents Leadership Profile (6/17)

After gathering community input via a survey and focus groups, our consultants presented a leadership profile to the School Board at their meeting on June 17. To learn more, you can watch the presentation (see below) and/or review the following documents:


icon of people in discussion groupSchool Board and HYA Schedule Community Focus Groups June 9-12; Survey Ends June 10

Share your voice in this important process! Complete the feedback survey and/or attend a discussion group. Public meetings are listed below; other groups for community partners, staff members, students and more are also scheduled. To learn more, call 245-2401.

  • Wednesday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m. Buford (in-person no zoom option)
  • Thursday, June 10 at 11:00 a.m. – Zoom Registration Link
  • Saturday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. – Zoom Registration Link

icon of calendar

School Board Meets with HYA to Determine Timeline (5/14)

On May 14, the School Board held a public work session with representatives from executive search firm HYA to determine key dates and processes for the upcoming search for the schools’ next superintendent.

Calendar Used for Superintendent Search

  • Position Advertising: May 2021 until filled
  • Application deadline: Open until filled
  • Leadership Profile presented to Board: June 17, 2021
  • Board first round of interviews: August 2021
  • Find full calendar here

Logo for HYA Executive Search FirmSchool Board Hires Executive Search Firm (5/4)

The School Board of Charlottesville City Schools announced on May 4 that it hired Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), based in Rosemont, Illinois, to conduct the search for a superintendent for Charlottesville City Schools.  The School Board will work with HYA to seek feedback from school staff, parents, students, elected officials, and community members to identify the leadership qualities these constituents feel are most important in an effective superintendent. LEARN MORE.


Jim Henderson portraitJim Henderson Named Acting Superintendent (3/26)

The Charlottesville City School Board announced that they have appointed James M. Henderson as Acting Superintendent. Mr. Henderson will begin work June 1.

Mr. Henderson is a June 2020 retiree of Charlottesville City Schools following a career at the school division that spanned more than four decades. LEARN MORE


Dr. Rosa AtkinsRosa Atkins Announces Retirement (3/23)

Earlier this month,  Superintendent Dr. Atkins announced that she would be retiring  from Charlottesville City Schools and accepting a top-level position with the Virginia Department of Education.  During her fifteen years at the schools, Dr. Atkins received state and national recognition for her work. Dr. Atkins, thank you for your service to our schools!


This page will keep you posted on the latest for Charlottesville City Schools’ search for a superintendent to succeed Dr. Rosa Atkins, whose retirement became official on May 31, 2021.

  • To receive  an email when this page is updated, click here.