Margaret Blackmon was distinguished as the first woman superintendent in Prince Edward County when she was hired in 1997. She led the school division until retiring in 2006, but that’s not all she did.
“Because I was one of the early female superintendents in Virginia, I actively mentored and coached other women interested in leadership,” Blackmon says. “I have been so pleased to see how successful my female colleagues have been as superintendents.”
I have been so pleased to see how successful my female colleagues have been as superintendents
She was an early member of Women Education Leaders in Virginia when it was established in 1998 to support women in all areas of education. She served a term as its second president from 2002-2004 and stepped into the role of executive director as a post-retirement position.
Blackmon also served the state for thirteen years as a member of the Statewide K-12 Education Advisory Council, a partnership between 20 Virginia school divisions and the University of Virginia. She served on the board of directors of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents from 2000-2006. During her term as president, 2005-06, she helped to initiate the Aspiring Superintendents Program, in which she still participates.
The Curry School’s Role
“Earning a doctorate at Curry was, I felt, a necessary credential to becoming a superintendent back in the 1990s, especially as a woman,” Blackmon says. “It was great to have outstanding professors like Margaret Grogan and Carol Ann Tomlinson and to study with men and women colleagues from around the state – educational leaders who are still my colleagues today.”
Blackmon continues to coach first-year superintendents for VASS. As executive director emerita of WELV, she still participates as a professional coach and is a significant presence at the annual conferences.
“International travel involving schools and higher ed has also been one of my most enjoyable activities during the last few years,” she says. She has traveled to Finland, New Zealand and Australia, Abu Dhabi, Congo, Kenya and Cuba. This winter she is headed to Egypt, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal.
“As you sit at the feet of Margaret Blackmon, one needs to only observe and listen to recognize that this professional is a font of knowledge,”says Stewart Roberson (B.S. ’77, M.Ed.’81,Ed.D.‘87), “that she is a person whose life’s calling has been to serve others, and that her personal energies will be, forever and boundlessly, devoted to preserving the ideal that public education is the bedrock of democracy.”