Dr. James Lane was named Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents at the VASS Spring Conference in Roanoke.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the leaders of seven Virginia education organizations selected him from among eight regional finalists.
Reached shortly after the meeting, Lane said he couldn’t be more appreciative of the honor.
“I’m just so honored that my colleagues thought of me for this award,” Lane said, noting that he is also excited to represent Virginia in the upcoming contest for National School Superintendent of the Year. “I just really want to thank all the people I have worked with, including my colleagues, teachers, parents and students—an honor like this doesn’t come without their support and hard work each and every day.”
Throughout his career in public education, Dr. Lane has demonstrated a penchant for providing leadership to develop innovative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. His terms as an education administrator in Chesterfield, Middlesex and Goochland Counties have been characterized by his skill in developing initiatives and implementing changes that improved student performance and teacher effectiveness. As a result his successful efforts have provided national recognition for the districts he has led.
Goochland’s Balanced Assessment Project has been recognized nationally as a top model for its emphasis on student academic growth. The project’s success was based on Lane’s ability to convert his teachers and administrators to a new way of thinking about how students should be taught and assessed. With an emphasis on student engagement and deeper learning, he guided his district toward using more project-oriented and performance based assessments that captured not just what students knew, but how they applied their knowledge in a way that more clearly demonstrated their growth and proficiency.
He also implemented some bold changes to reduce the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students in Goochland. By combining a seven-step intervention process, family and community services that helped support minority student learning, and encouraging ownership of the achievement gap problem by the community, Lane made some significant gains in improving the academic achievement of his minority students. As a result, there is a 14 percent increase in the graduation rate of African American students in Goochland and a 9 percent reduction in the graduation rate gap.
“James Lane’s name has become synonymous with innovative leadership in education in Virginia,” said VASS President Rosa Atkins, presenting Lane with the Virginia Superintendent of the Year Award. “He has implemented new approaches to teaching and learning in the Virginia school divisions he has led and as a result his students and staff members have produced great results.”
Lane started his administrative career in public education as an assistant principal in Chesterfield County Schools in 2005. He worked as a principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent in Middlesex County from 2006-2012. In 2012 he was appointed as Superintendent of Goochland County Schools. Recently, he accepted a new position in Chesterfield County where he will begin as the Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2016.
The Virginia Superintendent of the Year Selection Committee included the State Superintendent for Public Instruction and the Presidents of the: Virginia Education Association; Virginia Parent and Teacher Association; Virginia Association of School Superintendents; Virginia School Boards Association; Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals; and Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals. Dr. Lane was selected as the state winner from eight regional Superintendents of the Year who were chosen from the entire field of 133 superintendents in the state.
As Virginia’s Superintendent of the Year, Lane will be eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year Award, which will be presented in New Orleans, Louisiana, next February by the American Association of School Administrators.