Superintendent's Memo #051-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

March 5, 2010

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 third cohort of its Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy. This special education leadership initiative, initially 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 2010 to August 2011) that will include a three-day workshop in August 2010 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 2010-2011 cohort. While all of the above referenced entities are invited to nominate promising special education leaders, preference will be given to those who have not had participants in either cohort I (2008-2009) or cohort II (2009-2010). 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 special education director and 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 special education directors; the applications will subsequently be submitted to your office by the special education director. This gives you the opportunity to add your endorsement and submit the application packet for your recommended nominee. Application packets must be submitted to H. Douglas Cox, assistant superintendent, Division of Special Education and Student Services and postmarked by April 5, 2010. Candidates and nominators will be notified of selection outcomes in May 2010.

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 third 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.


cc: Special Education Directors


  1. Application for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy (Word)
  2. Recommendation Form (Word)