The Bulletin

Director of Virginia higher education council to step down after 12 years

By: - May 18, 2023 4:05 pm

Peter Blake, director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. (SCHEV)

One of Virginia’s top higher education policy officials is stepping down from his post.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the coordinating body for colleges and universities in the commonwealth, announced Thursday that it will begin its search for a new leader after long-time director Peter Blake said he would be leaving the job by the end of the year. 

Blake did not provide a reason for his departure or announce any future plans.

“Few careers allow one to work on important issues with smart, capable and committed people on important issues,” said Blake in a statement. “Higher education does indeed change lives, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help make Virginia one of the best states for education.”

SCHEV, which was first established by the state in 1956, is intended to “advocate and promote the development of an educationally and economically sound, vigorous, progressive and coordinated system of higher education in Virginia.” The 13-member council is made up of 12 citizen members appointed by the governor and an ex officio member, who collectively appoint the director. 

Blake is concluding his second stint with the agency after previously serving as an associate director. In 1999, he left the position to serve as the legislative fiscal analyst for the General Assembly’s House Appropriations Committee.

Between 2002 and 2006, Blake also served as deputy secretary of education and secretary of education under former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner. 

According to the council, Blake has conferred nearly 1.2 million degrees and certificates during his nearly 12 years of service. 

During his tenure, SCHEV produced two statewide strategic plans for higher education and participated in funding and policy decisions that have “expanded student access, helped address labor market needs and improved institutional effectiveness,” the agency said.

The agency said it will work with a group including Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera to identify candidates to serve as the agency’s director.

“It is essential that we find a new leader who can build on Peter’s legacy to keep moving Virginia forward,” said council chair Ken Ampy.

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Nathaniel Cline
Nathaniel Cline

Nathaniel is an award-winning journalist who's been covering news across the country since 2007, including politics at The Loudoun Times-Mirror and The Northern Neck News in Virginia as well as sports for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. He has also hosted podcasts, worked as a television analyst for Spectrum Sports, and appeared as a panelist for conferences and educational programs. A graduate of Bowie State University, Nathaniel grew up in Hawaii and the United Kingdom as a military brat. Five things he must have before leaving home: his cellphone, Black Panther water bottle, hand sanitizer, wedding ring and Philadelphia Eagles keychain.

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