Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, has been named one of two finalists for the AASA Women in School Leadership Award for Superintendents. Each year, the AASA, or School Superintendents Association, joins with the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation to offer awards recognizing the country’s outstanding female teacher, principal, and superintendent.

“We are so proud of Dr. Atkins and her leadership in Charlottesville and beyond. We are delighted but not surprised to see her excellence recognized on a national stage,” noted School Board chair Amy Laufer.

Atkins, a former Virginia Superintendent of the Year, was nominated for the award by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.  The award is based on achievement in four areas: meeting the needs of students; personal and organizational communication; personal and staff-wide growth and professional development; and leadership in the local community and beyond.

“I’m humbled to be one of the award finalists,” said Atkins. “I don’t view it as an individual accolade, but as recognition of all the good work accomplished by the teachers and administrators of Charlottesville City Schools. Their commitment to serving our students is unparalleled.”

Atkins has been superintendent in Charlottesville since 2006. During that time, both student achievement and graduation rates have risen, division student enrollment has grown, and Charlottesville has been consistently recognized as one of the top-performing divisions in the state. Among other innovative initiatives, Charlottesville has invested in technology and STEM while maintaining its commitment to its acclaimed fine arts programs. The division’s acclaimed engineering programs at Charlottesville High School and Buford Middle School are indicative of her commitment to partnership since they have been supported and made possible by the joint commitments of businesses, foundations, U.Va., PVCC, the Smithsonian Institution, and other area school divisions. Charlottesville City Schools is a charter member of The League of Innovative Schools.

In 2011, Atkins was named Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, as well as Virginia State University Alumnus of the Year for Professional Education. She presently serves as past president of the Virginia Association of Schools Superintendents and vice president for the Urban Superintendents Association of America. Her previous service includes chairing the Virginia School University Partnership and serving as president of the Women Education Leaders in Virginia, along with additional leadership roles with numerous local, state and national committees and boards. In 2015 Dr. Atkins was selected by American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to serve as mentor in the inaugural AASA-Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy. In 2014, Dr. Atkins was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 Future-Ready Superintendents and invited to the American Association of School Administrators’ Digital Consortium at the White House.

Next, both finalists will interview with the award committee, and the winner will be announced at the organization’s National Conference on Education in California this March. AASA, the School Superintendents Association, advocates for the highest quality public education for all students, and develops and supports school system leaders. Founded in 1865, AASA is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world.