Through VASCD Laurie McCullough works to bring together Virginia professionals from across the spectrum of education roles (teachers, principals, superintendents, university professors, teacher education students, and central office leaders) both to strengthen teaching and learning and to advocate for children. Under her leadership, VASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development) provides professional learning opportunities, as well as newsletters and a peer-reviewed journal through which they share trends and best practices.
“We also work to promote policy at the state level that aligns with our best thinking about teaching and learning,” she says.
Her affiliate received the 2015 Overall Excellence Award from the national association based on achievement in all of ASCD’s five developmental priority areas. McCullough was also behind the successful VASCD 2015 Academy on Teaching, Learning and Poverty and the recent Deeper Learning conference.
“These accomplishments all contribute to a greater success, which is VASCD’s central role in maintaining an ongoing focus on quality teaching and learning across the Commonwealth,” she says.
Her leadership at VASCD was no doubt the reason she was appointed in 2014 to Virginia’s SOL Innovation Committee, where she is chair of the Accountability 2.0 Subcommittee.
“Our group has proposed a more balanced definition of school quality, which considers multiple measures, moving away from an overemphasis on test scores,” she reports. “We have also recommended a School Quality Profile—a transparent and accessible data dashboard that we hope will replace the current school report card.”
She is pleased to see several aspects of the subcommittee’s work reflected in policy discussions in the State Board of Education and General Assembly, she adds, and is gratified by legislation in 2014 and 2015 which reduced the burden of over-testing and created opportunities for schools to innovate (see HB930/SB 306, SB270; HB1675/SB982; 2015 Appropriations Act).
These accomplishments all contribute to a greater success, which is VASCD’s central role in maintaining an ongoing focus on quality teaching and learning across the Commonwealth.
The Curry School’s Role
“I had great experiences at Curry early in my career, first as a student and later as a faculty member,” McCullough says. “My Curry mentors taught me that real understanding of teaching and learning doesn’t reside in higher education and run downhill to K-12 classrooms. Rather, it results from a synergy that takes place when teachers, school leaders, and University faculty collaborate to accomplish something meaningful for students. That understanding provides a strong foundation for the work I do every day.”
Her Career Path
Before joining VASCD, McCullough spent a year and a half as chief strategy officer at Teachstone LLC. Previously, she was director of student achievement at Charlottesville City Schools and director of instruction at Waynesboro Public Schools. She was principal of Stone-Robinson Elementary School in Albemarle County for seven years.
In addition to leading VASCD she serves on the adjunct faculty of the Curry School’s administration and supervision program.
“Laurie McCullough brings energy and creativity to any task that she undertakes,” says Pamela Tucker, professor in Curry’s administration and supervision program. “She has been a catalyst for instructional improvement and innovation throughout the state for many years and she continues that work through her role as executive director of the VASCD. Her warm personality and instructional expertise endear her to all of us, and we are fortunate to have her leadership.”