The vision of the Virginia Department of Education, in collaboration with the governor, secretary of education, General Assembly, Virginia Board of Education, local school boards, education stakeholders, and parents, is to create an excellent system of public education that prepares every Virginia student for success.
The mission of the Virginia Department of Education is to lead and facilitate the development and implementation of a quality public education system that meets the needs of students and assists them in becoming educated, productive, responsible, and self-reliant citizens.
Dr. James F. Lane
Dr. James F. Lane was appointed Virginia’s 25th Superintendent of Public Instruction by Governor Ralph S. Northam, effective June 1, 2018. As state superintendent Dr. Lane serves as the executive officer of the Virginia Department of Education, which is the administrative agency for the commonwealth’s public schools. He leads the external functions of the agency and also manages the internal operations. Dr. Lane also serves as secretary of the state Board of Education.
Division of Budget, Finance, and Operations – Kent Dickey, Deputy Superintendent
The Division of Budget, Finance, and Operations is responsible for distributing state and federal funds to school divisions and provides technical assistance to school divisions in the areas of finance, budget, teacher education and licensure, pupil transportation, child nutrition programs, and school facilities. It administers the Literary Fund school construction loan program, educational technology and school security equipment grants to divisions, and two education tax credit programs for donations to eligible entities. The division provides services to the Department in the areas of finance, budget, financial systems and reporting, procurement, and internal support services.
Division of School Quality, Instruction, and Performance – Donald Fairheart, Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Staff
The Division of School Quality, Instruction, and Performance leads the Department’s strategic initiatives to advance equitable student outcomes and comprehensive school quality. Through tailored support to schools, the division implements Virginia’s continuous school quality and improvement interventions. Additionally, the division leads the Department’s efforts aimed at advancing equity, closing achievement gaps, coordinating stakeholder engagement, and managing external communications and outreach strategies. Finally, the Division is responsible for supporting the implementation of Virginia’s Standards of Learning, strengthening curriculum resources, supporting best practices in pedagogy and providing technical assistance to teachers and schools.
Division of School Readiness – Jenna Conway, Chief School Readiness Officer
The Division of School Readiness helps prepare all Virginia children for kindergarten by supporting birth to five programming, including the Virginia Preschool Initiative and Early Childhood Special Education. The division focuses on key classroom practices including: the use of high-quality curriculum and assessment, teacher-child interactions and individualized professional development, as well as strengthening family engagement. The division also works with other state agencies that serve young children to build a more unified birth to five early childhood care and education system.
Department of Policy – Monica Smith-Callahan, Assistant Superintendent
The mission of the Department of Policy is to assist the Virginia Board of Education, the governor and the General Assembly in the development of legislation, regulations, and policies that promote student learning and achievement and to provide timely and accurate information about public education in the commonwealth. Department staff serve as liaison to the Board, and support the Board in promoting education reform. The department monitors federal policies and refers them to other divisions for oversight. The department maintains working relationships with the news media, educational organizations, and school divisions to ensure timely distributing of accurate information concerning the Board of Education policies and the Agency actions.