Educating for the Future

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

School Superintendents Rosa Atkins (Charlottesville) and Pam Moran (Albemarle) examined the state of education in Albemarle’s and Charlottesville’s public school systems.

Rosa Atkins and Pam Moran speaking before the June 8th meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia

Rosa Atkins (left) and Pam Moran speaking before the June 8th meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.

Atkins and Moran spoke at the June 8, 2011 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Charlottesville Senior Center. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Bob McGrath.

Rosa Atkins

Rosa Atkins

Prior to coming to Charlottesville in July, 2006, Rosa Atkins served as assistant superintendent in Caroline County. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of leadership development, and director of instruction. A former fellow in Educational Leadership and Ethics at Oxford University, Rosa was named Henrico County Instructional Leader of the Year in 1999. Her breadth of experience spans urban, suburban, and rural settings; she has worked closely with refugee, homeless, and extraordinarily precocious children.

Rosa received a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Virginia State University. She received a master’s degree in Special Education, and a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision, also from Virginia State. She received her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Virginia Tech.

Rosa was named 2011 Superintendent of the Year for Region 5 of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and 2011 Virginia Superintendent of the Year.

Rosa has provided inspiring and innovative leadership in her urban school district of 3,800 students. She has reduced the achievement gap between her advantaged and disadvantaged students on the state’s standardized tests, while simultaneously elevating her district’s academic standards to better prepare her students for enrollment in higher education and successful employment in a globally competitive economy.

Pam Moran

Pam Moran

For more than 30 years, Pam Moran has held a wide variety of teaching and leadership roles in elementary, middle, and high schools as well as at the district level including middle and high school science teacher, staff development and instructional coordinator, middle school associate principal, elementary principal, director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent for student learning, and superintendent.

Pam holds a B.S. degree (1974) from Furman University and a master’s degree (1981) in Curriculum and Instruction and a doctoral degree (1997) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Virginia. As an adjunct instructor for the University of Virginia, she has taught over 10 different instructional and leadership courses across the state, including a recent virtual course on “Reimagining Education in the 21st Century.”

Connecting with other public school educators to make sense of needed transitions in our field as we close in on the second decade of the 21st Century is a passion. Pam is energized by conversations with young people who relish emerging technologies as learning and communication tools, and see themselves as contributors to the communities in which they live.

Pam is the current president of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents for the 2011-12 School Year and serves as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, military history, poetry, and writing.

Program Summary

At the June 8 SSV meeting, Rosa Atkins and Pam Moran, school superintendents of Charlottesville and Albemarle, provided an overview on “Educating for the Future.”

Dr. Atkins described the goal of developing a global school system–going beyond this region to connect students and teachers with resources, and to prepare students with the skills they will need anywhere in the region, state, nation or world. This involves connections; partnerships; innovation; academic rigor; professional excellence; and learning for life. She also discussed a number of legislative issues that need to be addressed. These include benefits; evaluations of staff; time for instruction; alternative modes of instruction and learning; curriculum; and funding.

Dr. Moran introduced guests including a former teacher at Western Albemarle High School (WAHS) and a WAHS graduate (who will be going on to UVa) to discuss how important it is that all students graduate college-ready, citizenship-ready, and workforce-ready. The school places an emphases on leadership, community service, and how to purposively integrate technology into the curriculum.

Dr. Moran looked at the perspective through the lens of who are we in the world. We hear a lot in the media about our schools not being up to snuff in comparison with the rest of the world. However, in some countries only populations with low levels of poverty are tested. Also, the majority of kids in many other countries don’t go past middle school. Another factor is that females in our system have the same access to education as boys, and students with special needs are not shunted to the side. Indeed, when comparing apples to apples, our kids are ranked number 1 in the world. We are about equal opportunity. Yet just because of sheer numbers, if you take only the top 15% of the students in China, that number is greater than all the kids in US schools. What this means is that we can’t afford to educate just our middle class students well, but rather all of our students must receive a world class education in order for us to compete around the globe.