Superintendent's Memo #054-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

March 6, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Nominations for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy

I am pleased to announce that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is planning for the second cohort of its Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy. This special education leadership initiative, established in 2008 to assist school divisions and state-operated programs with succession planning, is designed to help prepare potential leaders for future administrative positions in special education. Through a year-long program (August 2009 to August 2010) that will include a three-day workshop in August 2009 followed by monthly seminars, observations, assignments, and field experiences, cohort members will have opportunities to gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that will help them to excel in positions of special education leadership.

The VDOE is now accepting one application per school division, state operated program, regional program or training/technical assistance center for Academy participation. A total of 30 participants will be selected for the 2009-2010 cohort. While all of the above referenced entities are invited to nominate promising special education leaders, preference will be given to those that do not have a participant in the current cohort (2008-2009). Candidates for the Academy may include teachers, student services staff, related services staff, and recently appointed administrators holding entry level positions. All candidates must be endorsed by their division superintendent or designee. The selection process is competitive, and a committee will review all applications and select participants based on the following criteria:

The VDOE will fund costs associated with lodging, speaker fees, and relevant materials. School divisions or other sending agencies will need to assume costs related to mileage reimbursement and substitutes.

An application for the cohort is attached and may also be found at the following website: Please note that candidates must submit their applications to their division superintendent or designee. This gives you the opportunity to add your endorsement and submit the application packet for your recommended nominee. Application packets are due to H. Douglas Cox, assistant superintendent, Division of Special Education and Student Services by April 10, 2009. Candidates and nominators will be notified of selection outcomes by May 1.

Virginia has traditionally conducted an academy for newly-appointed special education directors. That academy will continue to be offered as a support to school divisions and appointees and will include professional development opportunities throughout the year. As in the past, letters of invitation will be sent directly to the newly-appointed directors. Please continue to keep us informed of your new appointments.

Thank you for your support as we begin the second year of this initiative and continue efforts to assist you in identifying and preparing future special education leaders. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Cox via e-mail at or via phone at 804-225-3252.

PIW / HDC / cp


a. Application for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy (Word)
b. Applicant Recommendation Form for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy (Word)