P.O. BOX 2120



March 7, 2008



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Nominations for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy


I am pleased to announce that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Division of Special Education and Student Services, is accepting nominations for Virginia's first cohort for its Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy. This special education leadership initiative, established 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 2008 to August 2009) that will include a three-day workshop in August 2008 followed by monthly seminars, observations, assignments, and field experiences, participants will have opportunities to gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that will help them to excel in positions of special education leadership.


The Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy will be comprised of up to thirty participants representing school divisions, state-operated programs, regional programs, and/or training/technical assistance centers from across the Commonwealth. 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 division superintendent or designee. The selection process is competitive, and a steering committee, appointed to assist in guiding this initiative, will review all applications and select participants based on the following criteria:

      Strength of candidate's written statement articulating interest in and commitment to special education leadership

      Virginia license in special education or a related field

      Experiences in special education and accomplishments as reflected in rsum

      Strength of recommendation by candidate's supervisor or program manager

      Endorsement by division superintendent or designee

      Balanced and diverse regional representation


The Virginia Department of Education 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 Web site: Please note that candidates must submit their applications to their division superintendent or designee. This gives you the opportunity to add your endorsement and submit the application packet for your recommended nominee. Application packets are due to H. Douglas Cox, assistant superintendent, Division of Special Education and Student Services by April 25, 2008. Candidates and nominators will be notified of selection outcomes by May 30, 2008.


Virginia has traditionally conducted an academy for newly-appointed special education directors. That academy will continue to be offered and will be expanded as a support to school divisions and appointees. 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 of this new initiative as we work to assist you in identifying and preparing future special education leaders. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Cox via e-mail ( or via phone (804-225-3252).





a. Application for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy (PDF)

b. Recommendation Form (PDF)