Superintendent hired, takes office July 1

The Rappahannock County School Board has appointed Donna O. Matthews as the new superintendent for Rappahannock County Public Schools effective July 1.

Before agreeing to become Rappahannock’s new superintendent – a decision that was apparently finalized only this week – Matthews has held a wide range of positions in education, including serving as division director of academic services in Buckingham County Public Schools.

New Rappahannock County Public Schools' superintendent Donna Matthews. Courtesy photo.
New Rappahannock County Public Schools’ superintendent Donna Matthews. Courtesy photo.

While there, Matthews spearheaded numerous new course offerings, established a dual enrollment cohort program with the local community college and integrated an associate degree program for gifted education students.

Matthews was visiting family out of state and not available for comment yesterday, according to a school board office spokesperson.

Matthews has also served as the division director of state assessments, technology coordination, and gifted and math instruction for Amelia County Public Schools, where she also served as principal of the elementary school. She was previously a principal for middle and primary schools in Nottoway County and a high school instructor in vocational education.

“The board is extremely pleased to welcome Mrs. Matthews to Rappahannock County as its next superintendent,” said school board chairman John Lesinski. “This was an exhaustive process comprised of numerous face-to-face interviews that yielded a handful of very strong choices.”

Matthews will replace interim superintendent Kathleen Grove, who took over the post vacated in February by Aldridge Boone, who resigned preemptively when the school board did not immediately renew his two-year contract that would have expired June 30.

Lesinski said the board had about two dozen applicants for the position; that number was narrowed to eight, who were then interviewed face-to-face. Lesinski said the board went through a “lengthy vetting process” which included conversations with current and former Buckingham County superintendents as well as that county’s school board members, before deciding on Matthews.

“As superintendent of Rappahannock County Public Schools, you have to wear a lot of hats,” said Lesinski. “It was important to us to find someone who had very diverse experience in instruction, academics and budgeting . . . We really did our homework.”

Matthews received her Bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University, her Master of Science from Longwood University and is a doctoral candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. She served as a part-time adjunct professor in guidance and counseling at Longwood. Matthews currently resides in Farmville with her husband Don, who raises black angus cattle on their farm.

“We collected data and input from all stakeholders in the division, as well as the community at large, and we are pleased that Mrs. Matthews will bring her expertise, enthusiasm and passion for excellence to Rappahannock County Public Schools. She is an exceptional fit for our system and our community,” said Lesinski.

Matthews will work to transition into the position over the next two months with Grove, who became the interim superintendent Feb. 4. Matthews will be spending several days in Rappahannock in both May and June, before assuming the post full time.

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