A Virginia Tech alumnus has been recognized as the top superintendent in the state.

Walter “Rick” Clemons ‘09, was named the 2023 Virginia Superintendent of the Year on May 2nd.

Clemons, who graduated with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, was cited for his leadership during the pandemic, his advocacy for the state’s public schools, and his determination to do what is best for students.

“Rick has done an outstanding job representing all of Virginia’s teachers as a staunch advocate for the state’s public school students,” said Zeb Talley, president of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, while presenting the award to Clemons during the annual awards luncheon. “He is a skilled leader who is determined to do what is best for students while providing everyone in his community the opportunity to share their opinion about quality public education.”

Clemons has served as superintendent for Gloucester County Public Schools since July 2014. He started his administrative career in 1996 as an assistant middle school principal in Newport News Public Schools. He also was an assistant high school principal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools.

After serving five years as a high school principal in Franklin City Public Schools, he became assistant superintendent with the school system. Before moving to Gloucester County, he served as superintendent of Northampton Country Public Schools for three years.

M. David Alexander, a professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Education, was a member of Clemons’ doctoral committee.

“Rick is an outstanding educator who has provided leadership to enhance the educational opportunities for children in the commonwealth for years,” Alexander said. “This is well-deserved award recognizing his accomplishments.”

Clemons fondly remembers his days in the Educational Leadership program at Virginia Tech.

“I can say that the program enhanced my professional knowledge and had the right balance of rigor and support,” he said. “The experiences that I had prepared me to continue my professional journey in upper levels of school administration, and I highly recommend the ELPS Ph.D. program for current and aspiring educational leaders. I am truly appreciative and thankful for the time spent in the program.”

As Virginia Superintendent of the Year, Clemons will be eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year award that will be presented next year in San Antonio, Texas, by the American Association of School Superintendents.

By Sharon Flynn Stidham