A working group of educators, parents, students and health experts will be creating recommendations for the state’s schools as divisions begin planning for the next school year.

The large working group includes Shan Lateef, a rising senior at Thomas Jefferson High School and the son of Prince William County School Board Chair Babur Lateef. The group also includes Fairfax County School Board Chair Karen Corbett-Sanders; Andrew Buchheit, principal at T. Clay Wood Elementary School in Nokesville and the president of the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals; and Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams.

Formed by Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, a former Prince William County teacher, the group has been meeting since April 23 with a focus on developing recommendations to align policies throughout the state’s education system to ensure continuity of learning, according to a news release.

“As we make decisions about the path forward, this panel will help ensure that we are best supporting rural students, English language learners, students of color, and students with special needs,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “School closures have been necessary to protect health and safety, but lost class time has a disproportionate impact on Virginia’s most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged students. That’s why equity will remain at the forefront as we determine when and how we can safely and responsibly return to in-person learning.”


Members of Virginia’s COVID-19 Education Work Group include:


Steering Committee

  • Atif Qarni, Secretary of Education, Chair of COVID-19 Education Work Group  

  • Fran Bradford, Deputy Secretary of Education for Higher Education and Museums

  • Peter Blake, Director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

  • Dr. James Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Virginia Department of Education


Work Group Members

  • Jenna Conway, Chief School Readiness Officer, Office of the Governor

  • Holly Coy, Assistant Superintendent for Policy, Communications, and Equity, Virginia Department of Education

  • Dr. Laurie Forlano, Deputy Commissioner for Population Health, Virginia Department of Health

  • Jennifer O. Macdonald, Director, Division of Child and Family Health, Virginia Department of Health

  • Dr. Lynn Clayton Prince, Director of Special Education, Powhatan County Public Schools and President-Elect, Virginia Council of Administrators of Special Education

  • Pam Simms, Program Director, Gladys H. Oberle School

  • Dr. Donna Henry, Chancellor, University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Chair, Council of Presidents in Virginia

  • Dr. Michael Rao, President, Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Taylor Reveley, President, Longwood University

  • Dr. Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University

  • Dr. Sharon Morrissey, Senior Vice Chancellor, Virginia Community College System

  • Dr. John Downey, President, Blue Ridge Community College

  • Dr. Eric Williams, Superintendent, Loudoun County Public Schools

  • Dr. Jared Cotton, Superintendent, Chesapeake Public Schools

  • Dr. Dennis Carter, Superintendent, Smyth County Schools

  • Kathy Burcher, Representative, Virginia Education Association   

  • Melinda Bright, Representative, Virginia Education Association

  • Dr. Travis Burns, Principal, Northumberland High School and President, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals

  • Dr. Andrew Buchheit, Principal, T. Clay Wood Elementary School and President, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals

  • Ann-Marie Ward, Council Treasurer, Virginia Parent Teacher Association

  • Pamela Croom, President-Elect, Virginia Parent Teacher Association

  • Teddy Martin II, Member, Henry County School Board and Regional Chair, Virginia School Boards Association

  • Karen Corbett-Sanders, Chair, Fairfax County School Board

  • Grace Creasey, Executive Director, Virginia Council for Private Education

  • Robert Lambeth, President, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia

  • Dr. Larry Stimpert, President, Hampden-Sydney College

  • Dr. Tiffany Franks, President, Averett University

  • Dan Gecker, President, Virginia Board of Education

  • Marianne Radcliff, Representative, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

  • Jared Calfee, Executive Director, Virginia21          

  • Rich Conti, Director, Science Museum of Virginia

  • Dr. Betty Adams, Executive Director, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

  • Ingrid Grant, Member, Governor’s African American Advisory Board

  • Hyun Lee, Member, Governor’s Asian Advisory Board

  • Diana Brown, Member, Governor’s Latino Advisory Board

  • Ashley Marshall, Chair, Virginia Council on Women

  • Shan Lateef, Rising Senior, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Governor’s STEM Phenom Award Winner

(1) comment


I’m hoping this group is able to accomplish their goal> it looks far to large to be effective. Dr. Andrew Buchheit is an excellent individual to serve on this committee.

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