The Bulletin

Virginia’s state schools superintendent is stepping down; Youngkin names education secretary

By: - December 18, 2021 12:02 am

State Superintendent James Lane in 2016, when he was named superintendent for Chesterfield Public Schools. (NBC12)

As the governor who appointed him winds down his term, Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction is stepping down.

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane, appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam in 2018 to oversee the Virginia Department of Education, is leaving for an undisclosed position elsewhere as Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, who campaigned on a range of education issues, including eradicating critcal race theory from Virginia schools and raising academic standards, prepares to take office next month.

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“I can confirm that Dr. Lane has notified Gov. Northam of his intent to leave the VDOE for a new position, the specifics of which he has not yet disclosed,” said Virginia Department of Education spokesman Ken Blackstone. “The date is still to be determined. He has not had discussions with the incoming Youngkin administration regarding his position, which is appointed by the governor.”

Lane formerly served as a public school superintendent in Chesterfield, Goochland and Middlesex counties.


On Monday morning, Youngkin announced he is naming Aimee Rogstad Guidera as education secretary. Guidera is an education consultant, former education policy staffer for the National Governors Assocation and the former founder and chief executive of the Data Quality Campaign, which was described by Time Magazine in 2012 as “widely credited for playing a key role in prodding states to improve their data systems and publicly holding them accountable for doing so.”

Aimee Rogstad Guidera has been selected by Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin to serve as Virginia’s next secretary of education. (Youngkin campaign)

“Aimee will be a critical partner in restoring expectations of excellence; overseeing a record education budget to invest in teachers, facilities and special education; rolling out innovation lab and charter schools; and standing for a curriculum that prepares Virginia’s children for a dynamic future and removes politics from the classroom,” Youngkin said in a statement.

Guidera moved to Virginia in 1995 and her daughter attended Fairfax County Public Schools, Youngkin’s news release says.

“A nationally recognized leader, Aimee is deeply respected for her distinguished career advocating for innovation and choice, data-driven reform and high standards, and will apply these principles in order to implement the Day One Game Plan,” Youngkin said. “Most importantly, she understands that parents matter, and the best interests of students must come first. Her leadership, intellect and talent will be tremendous assets as we ensure Virginia kids are the best prepared in the country to succeed, and that they are taught how to think, not what to think. She will help us recharge a system that has settled for too long.”

This post has been updated to reflect Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s announcement of an education secretary selection. The headline has also been clarified to reflect Youngkin’s pick of an education secretary, not state superintendent. 

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Robert Zullo
Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers and was previously editor of the Virginia Mercury. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Contact him at [email protected]