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Governor names W&M alumnus, professor superintendent of public instruction

  • Superintendent of instruction
    Superintendent of instruction
    Steve Staples '76, M.Ed. '83, an adjunct faculty member in the William & Mary School of Education, has been named Virginia's superintendent of public instruction. He is pictured here at the 50th anniversary celebration of the W&M School of Education.
    Photo courtesy of the W&M School of Education

Steve Staples ’76, M.Ed. ’83, an adjunct faculty member in the William & Mary School of Education, has been named Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced in a press release Monday.

“I am proud to announce that Steve Staples will serve as Virginia’s next superintendent of public instruction,” McAuliffe said. “Steve has a deep understanding of Virginia’s strengths, its challenges, and the opportunities we have to take bold, innovative steps to improve schools in every corner of the Commonwealth. He has what it takes to drive Virginia’s public education system into the future.”

Staples will call upon his extensive experience in public education from the twin perspectives of public school administrator and university professor in his new capacity.

“These are important times for public education in the Commonwealth and I can assure you that it has become quite clear to me that the governor and the team he has assembled care deeply about our public schools,” Staples said. “I am ready to hit the ground running to tackle the challenges Virginia’s education system faces and ensure every Virginia student has access to quality public education.”

Staples served as executive director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents for nearly two years. Prior to that, he served as a full-time executive professor on the faculty of the William & Mary School of Education from 2008-2012. While there, Staples helped develop and later directed the School of Education’s Executive Ed.D. program.

Spencer Niles, dean of the School of Education noted that “Steve’s contributions to the School of Education are many. In addition to his important role developing the Executive Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership, Steve is an outstanding teacher and exemplary mentor for his students.  We are honored to be associated with him and we look forward to working with Steve in his new role leading public education in Virginia.”

Previously, Staples was school superintendent in York County for 16 years where he implemented a variety of forward-thinking initiatives for the over 12,000 students in the county public school system. Among these were magnet programs in fine arts and in math, science and technology, and a charter school program linking academic standards to licensure competencies in career and technical fields. Staples has served as an adjunct faculty member of William & Mary School of Education throughout most of his career, and he currently teaches courses in the Executive Ed.D. program.

Staples will replace current Superintendent Pat Wright, who announced her retirement earlier this month. Wright was appointed superintendent of public instruction by Gov. Tim Kaine in 2008 after serving nearly 30 years in the Department of Education.