DATE: December 1, 2016
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Statewide Education Organization Selects Debora Collins as Curriculum Leader of the Year

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (VASCD) has named Debora Collins, Executive Director of Student Learning for Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS), the 2016 Curriculum Leader of the Year.

A statewide organization, VASCD is comprised of more than 1,200 teachers, administrators, and higher education faculty. It is dedicated to advancing excellence in teaching, learning and leadership through the support of policies and programs that “are proactive and innovative in ensuring lifelong learning for all.”

“Debora Collins is a model of the leadership needed to achieve our mission,” said Laurie McCullough, VASCD’s executive director. “She combines innovative thinking with common sense and creativity with practicality. We are delighted to have the opportunity to honor such a skilled leader,” Ms. McCullough added.

One example of Collins’ skilled leadership is her supervision and direction of the school division’s instructional coaching model. “Through a program that was ground-breaking at the time, she led a team of division-wide instructional coaches to infuse classrooms with a new purpose,” said Dr. Pamela Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools. “That purpose was found in her championing of our maker curriculum—a hands-on approach to discovery that substantially increased the engagement of our students with their own learning,” Dr. Moran said.

Instructional coaching is a program model in ACPS that has since been adopted by other school divisions. Instructional coaches work with teachers as collaborative partners in all 26 of the county’s public schools. They assist in the design of curricula and assessments, the integration of technologies that maximize instruction, and the development and application of best practices and classroom strategies.

With Collins’ division-wide leadership, Moran said, “We saw closer alignment by teachers between our Lifelong-Learner Competencies and the delivery of instruction, and in our external partnerships that helped us embed the principles of project-based learning firmly within our curriculum and professional development programs.”

The impact of Collins as an innovator was summarized by Dr. Kate Acuff, Chair of the Albemarle County School Board. “In such a tradition-bound, time-honored profession as ours, change often does not easily occur. Ms. Collins has led the change process for our school division’s curriculum through her clearly-expressed vision; her determinative yet collaborative style; and the thoroughness of her work with our teachers, principals, and members of our Board,” Dr. Acuff said.

Prior to her current role, Collins served as Director of Elementary Education and Gifted and Federal Programs for the school division; as an elementary education coordinator; as principal of both Red Hill and later Yancey elementary schools; and as a middle school math teacher.

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Pictured: Debora Collins