Superintendent's Memo #041-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

February 11, 2011

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 fourth 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 administrative positions in special education. Through a year-long program (August 2011 to August 2012) that will include a three-day workshop in August 2011 followed by monthly, two-day 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 2011-2012 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 past cohorts. Candidates for the Academy may include administrators holding entry level positions and/or teachers, student services staff, and related services staff who have demonstrated leadership. All candidates must be endorsed by their special education director and division superintendent or designee. Divisions and programs are encouraged to consider internal competitions prior to submitting their nominee.

The final 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 assume costs related to mileage reimbursement and substitutes.

An application to participate in this program is attached and may also be found at the following Web site: Please note that candidates must submit their applications to your office through your director of special education. 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, 2011. Candidates and nominators will be notified of selection outcomes in May 2011.

Thank you for your support as we begin the fourth 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)