Rosa Atkins, a graduate of the Virginia Tech School of Education’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership, has been named assistant superintendent for talent acquisition and development at the Virginia Department of Education.

There she will serve as the chief human resources officer and member of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s cabinet.

Atkins made the move after announcing her retirement from Charlottesville City Schools, where she has been superintendent since 2006. During her tenure, she received broad recognition for her leadership, including being named State Superintendent of the Year in 2011 and being one of two national finalists for the 2017 AASA Women in School Leadership Award for superintendents.

As one of the longest-serving superintendents in the commonwealth, Atkins embodies Virginia Tech’s motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). During her tenure, she has worked to ameliorate opportunity gaps, increase student achievement, and improve graduation rates in her school division. She is widely recognized for her efforts to advance equity, and for her calm demeanor and commitment to the children of the division.

Atkins has been an active member of many organizations, including the Virginia Association of Schools Superintendents, Women Education Leaders in Virginia, and the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

“When I look ahead to the opportunity at the Virginia Department of Education, what comes to mind are the people who stood by me and prepared me,” Atkins said. “Of course, this starts with family, but it also means my teachers from grade school through Virginia Tech. It also includes all the colleagues and mentors who have been thinking partners, critics, and cheerleaders. All of these people have made me better, and I take their wisdom with me to this new position.”

Atkins will assume her role at the Virginia Department of Education in July 2021.

“Especially at this moment in history, we need courageous and principled servant leaders such Dr. Atkins,” said Kristin Gehsmann, director of the School of Education. “Her commitment to educational excellence and equity is an inspiration to all of us in the field of education and beyond.”

Written by Sharon Flynn Stidham