GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — All month, WAVY-TV 10 has featured “Excellent Educators” in our area. 

Our series finale celebrates a local superintendent who’s been named the Virginia Superintendent of the Year.

The Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) named Dr. Walter “Rick” Clemons of Gloucester County the Virginia Superintendent of the Year.

“Rick has done an outstanding job representing all Virginia educators as a staunch advocate for the state’s public-school students,” said VASS President Zeb Talley. “He is a skillful leader who stands firm in doing what is best for students while providing everyone in his community with the opportunity to share their opinions about what quality public education means.”

Clemons told 10 On Your Side teamwork, transparency, and open communication have all contributed to the recent achievement.

“I’ve got a great support mechanism, great staff in Gloucester, great community, great school board, so I’ve got a lot of people that have played a part,” Clemons said.

Clemons has led Gloucester County schools for the last eight years.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the county was one of the first school districts in the area to return to in-person learning with a hybrid approach in November 2020. Through the pandemic, the school district advanced technology in the rural county using school buses. Now, county leaders plan to improve WiFi availability.

Last June, Clemons worked to answer questions and concerns about school curriculum from the community during a town hall meeting.

“We don’t teach Critical Race Theory. Just trying to make people aware that there is an avenue to have discussion I think was really big,” he said.

The Gloucester County school division can also expect a big renovation at Gloucester High School. 

Several other projects are in the works, within the county budget, all thanks to county leaders and the community.

As the Virginia Superintendent of the Year, Clemons will be eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year Award.