The services of the Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership (VFEL) support and reinforce a comprehensive seamless system of leadership learning for school leaders involved at the pre-Kindergarten to post-graduate levels. Professional development activities are provided that strengthen knowledge and abilities with school improvement efforts and empower school leaders to move their schools successfully through the change process. The age of accountability expects principals and other school leaders to be more than managers; they must be leaders of instruction, of change, and of continuous improvement.  With that in mind, VFEL serves as an advocate as part of its commitment to build strong, effective principals and school leaders who drive education improvement using innovative and productive practices.

VFEL Faculty

Brian K. Matney, Ph.D.

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Dr. Brian K. Matney, VASSP Past President, is Principal of Landstown High School: Governor’s STEM & Technology Academy, Virginia Beach Division. Brian, the 2006 VASSP Outstanding High School Principal and 2014 VSCA Administrator of the Year, has been a member of VASSSP since 1995. He is a member of the Governor’s SOL Reform and Innovation Committee, chairs the State Board’s Advisory Board in Teacher Education and Licensure (ABTEL), has led the NASSP NHS National Advisory Council, and was the University of Virginia Curry Foundation’s 2008 Principal of the Year. He also completed leadership development seminars at Oxford and Princeton, as well as through the Principals’ Center at Harvard. While teaching at Green Run High School in 1988, Brian was recognized as one of the top 100 new teachers in America by the Student Loan Marketing Association. In 1999, he was named as one of three Outstanding Young Virginians by the Virginia Jaycees. B.A., University of Virginia (Phi Beta Kappa, Echols Scholar, Governor’s Fellow); M.A.T. and Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dean E. Smith Scholar).

Carol C. Robinson, Ed.D., ACC

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Dr. Carol C. Robinson is a former middle school principal, school improvement specialist, and teacher of English, music, and drama.  For over thirty-five years, Carol has shared her knowledge, skills, and expertise through presentations, workshops, articles, and courses.  Since 1985, she has been an adjunct professor for George Mason University, Virginia Tech, and Shenandoah University, teaching graduate courses ranging from curriculum and instruction to principal preparation.  In addition, Carol has received certifications in Teacher Expectations Student Achievement (TESA), EQ-i2.0 assessments, and Associate Certified Coach (ACC) by the International Coach Federation.  Presentations and workshops include reading and writing in the content areas, motivation, conflict management, coaching, differentiation, school improvement, strategic planning, and data management.  Carol was lead researcher and author in 2008 for Leveraging Knowledge, a two-year project for her school division that identified schools attaining high levels of student achievement despite the odds against them.  Since 2000 Carol has served as a Lead Evaluator for AdvancED Virginia as well as a member of teams for Virginia’s Schools to Watch assessment program.  Carol has been an involved member of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals since 1991, serving as Region Director, President, and, currently, Chair of the Principals Award Committee. B.M.Ed.,George Mason University; M.A.Ed.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Ed.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 

Charles "Mike" H. Harris, III, Ed.D.

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Dr. Charles H. Harris, III serves as a Lead Evaluator for AdvancEd of Virginia as well as a consultant for The Business and Education Leadership Authority.  The former division superintendent is an experienced school administrator with 36 years of practice where many of those years focused on turn-around schools or school divisions.  As superintendent, Mike continuously improved a school division from no accredited schools to full accreditation for all.  He was a successful principal in two school divisions as well as a Director of Middle Education.  As an administrator, his primary focus was instruction with decisions driven by data, team building with strong leadership, curriculum alignment with pacing guides, and sound budget practices. The superintendent was responsible for the construction of new facilities or renovated modern facilities – middle school, new elementary school, new operations and transportation facility, and an administrative office.  Mike has completed a four-year term on the National Federation of State High School Associations Board of Directors which establishes rules for Secondary School activities and sports for all 50 states. He also served as Regional Chairman of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and presented on topics of leadership on many occasions around the country.  Mike has also served as an adjunct professor at George Mason University and Virginia State University. B.S.Ed., Virginia State University; M.Ed., University of Virginia; Ed.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Mrs. Janice Case is an educator with 20+ years experience, K-12, in both private and public school education. Most recently, Janice served as the principal of Potomac Falls High School in Loudoun, Virginia. Her extensive public school experience includes being a middle and high school principal, high school assistant principal, and special education teacher. As a school leader, she was active at the state and national levels in her roles as State Coordinator and member of Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals' Board of Directors. She contributed to numerous committees and task forces at both the state and national levels responsible for cultivating and implementing new teacher and principal evaluation standards and practices. For the last thirteen years, Janice has provided consultant services in the way of professional development to schools and school leaders nationwide. She has collaborated with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Institute for School Leadership, the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, the Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership, and the Virginia Department of Education to provide professional learning experiences on a wide range of topics targeted toward supporting school leaders and teachers through the school transformation process. B.A.; George Mason University; M.A., Virginia Tech.

Kathleen M. Smith, Ed.D.

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Dr. Kathleen M. Smith is Director for the AdvancED Virginia Managing Office. Prior to that, Kathleen served as Director for the Office of School Improvement with the Virginia Department of Education, where she provided technical assistance to department staff and school divisions regarding accountability, school turnaround, and school improvement. She also established and implemented the “Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools” (PASS) initiative to support the improvement of 30 schools identified for school improvement. Kathleen has been an educator since 1975, serving students and schools in a variety of positions, including special education teacher; career and technical director, where she developed and implemented a model apprenticeship program for 30 students in the chemical industry; program manager for an education and employment program serving high school dropouts ages 16-21; pre-school specialist; and educational resource specialist for elementary students and classroom teacher. These experiences strengthened and sharpened her expertise in school improvement, data use, instruction, and alignment of the written, taught and tested curriculum. In 2011, Kathleen represented Virginia as a member of the Region 3 Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Education, where she researched and reported on educational needs of schools across the country, recommended ways to effectively address those needs, and assisted the Department in establishing priorities for a 2012 grant competition. Kathleen’s dissertation The Impact of District Climate on Student Achievement, a culmination of her desire to support schools and divisions in finding systemic avenues to improve outcomes for students, was subsequently published in a book chapter. B.S., Old Dominion University; M.Ed., College of William & Mary; Ed.D., College of William and Mary.

Randy D. Barrack, Ed.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Randy D. Barrack has been the executive director of VASSP since 1979. The former high school principal is an experienced mediator who is regularly involved in litigation affecting school principals and assistant principals. He has been a registered lobbyist at the Virginia General Assembly since 1979. In 1995, Randy helped found the Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership - a pre-K through 16 educational leadership learning organization. He has served as its president since 2007. Randy has planned and participated in over 900 professional development conferences, institutes and workshops for school administrators, supervisors, lead teachers and support staff. His first doctoral study focused on the quality of and perceived need for professional educational services provided by the VDOE. His second doctoral research is on public policy and administration and the effective use of collaboration. Co-author of The Legal Handbook for Virginia Principal - A Professional Practice Handbook. In 2005, Randy wrote the mentor coaching proposal that became a part of the National Governors Association grant to Virginia to Redesign the American High School. He has been an emissary for NASSP and the United States Informational Agency and worked with school administrators in Great Britain, China, and the former Soviet Union. Randy is currently one of 10 international commissioners on the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. He is an adjunct professor of finance, public policy analysis, nonprofit leadership and advocacy, and administrative law at Virginia Commonwealth University. B.S., James Madison University; M.Ed., Virginia Commonwealth University; Ed.D., University of Virginia; Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University.

Roger E. Jones, Ed.D.

Dr. Roger E. Jones is Dean of the School of Education, Leadership Studies, and Counseling at Lynchburg College. He also directs the VASSP/VFEL Center for Educational Leadership at Lynchburg College. Prior to joining the college faculty, Roger served 32 years in the Lynchburg division as a teacher, coach, middle school principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Roger served as a VFEL faculty member for webinars conducted in conjunction with the VDOE and the Center on Innovation and Improvement. He has provided training to over 600 administrators and teachers on Breaking Ranks II and Breaking Ranks in the Middle and conducts VASSP School Law Clinics for middle and high school administrators throughout the commonwealth.  A former president of VASSP, Roger is an original member of VFEL's cadre of trainers for both Breaking Ranks and NISL. He has presented in over 25 school divisions on topics related to school law, codes of conduct, personalization, evaluation, and instructional improvement.  In addition to authoring numerous articles and publications on a variety of educational topics, Roger is co-author of The Legal Handbook for Virginia School Administrators (now in its 3rd edition); author of the annual publication General Assembly Update: Changes in School Law for Virginia School Administrators for the past 20 years; and, most recently, author of Focused Leadership: Instruction, Learning, and School Improvement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). B.S., Western Carolina University; M.S., Arkansas State University; Ed.D., University of Virginia.

Abe E. Jeffers

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Mr. Abe E. Jeffers works in the Richmond Public School Division’s central office as the Executive Director of Secondary Schools where he supervises eight high schools and seven middle schools. Prior to joining Richmond Public Schools in May of 2014, Abe served as a high school science teacher in Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, and Maryland and as an administrator in Tennessee, Ohio, and Virginia. He worked as high school principal for over five years in northern Virginia and as a high school assistant principal in central Ohio and northern Virginia.  Abe served on the VASSP Board of Directors for three years, has led and served on AdvancEd visitation teams, and is a nationally certified trainer for the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL). B.S., University of Tennessee; M.Ed., University of Virginia.

Antonia Fox, Ed.D.

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Dr. Antonia Fox is currently the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Portsmouth Public Schools.  Prior to beginning her tenure in Portsmouth, Antonia served as a Chemistry, Advanced Placement Chemistry, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, and Applications of Biology & Chemistry teacher at York High School in the York County School Division. Additionally, she served as an Assessment & Compliance Coordinator, Assistant Principal and Principal, alos with the York County School Division. In 2012, Antonia was named the Outstanding High School Principal of the Year by the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals. She has conducted workshops and training sessions on the use of data, leadership, relationship building, and professional development for school leaders and teachers. Additionally, in 2013, Antonia was recognized by Learning Forward Virginia with the School Administrator Professional Learning Award. Antonia is a nationally certified trainer for the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) and has been a member of the College of William and Mary’s School-University Research Network (SURN) Principal’s Academy. B.S., Old Dominion University; M.Ed., College of William and Mary; Ed.D., College of William and Mary.

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