Hampton Superintendent wins 2020 Mary Peake Award for Excellence in Education Equity


Hampton Superintendent Recipient of 2020 Mary Peake Award.

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Hampton City School’s Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Smith was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Mary Peake Award for Excellence in Education Equity in the school leader category on Thursday.

The Mary Peake Award for Excellence in Education Equity features individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of equity in education for students in Virginia.

Mary Peake’s passion for education in marginalized communities, and belief that education has a profound impact on students, families, and the community, is deeply rooted, literally and figuratively, in the culture of Hampton, school officials said. 

The school division says Jeffery Smith exhibits the same level of determination in advancing equitable educational opportunities and ensuring equitable outcomes for students, regardless of their race, income, or background.

HCS is a majority-minority school division with over 24% of students living in poverty and 62% eligible for free and reduced meals, Smith focused on transforming teaching and learning in the school system and implemented innovative strategies around closing the achievement, opportunity, and equity gaps among marginalized student groups.

Dr. Smith continues to ensure HCS provides, “personalized learning experiences offered in cutting edge learning environments. His commitment to advancing education equity has resulted in every Hampton student being connected with college and career pathway opportunities in our community through every level of their educational track.”

In a letter to Smith from Virginia Superintendent of Public Education, Dr. James Lane states, “Your contribution is a continuation of the legacy Mary Peake began – a true testament to the ongoing journey towards education equity – an inspiration to us all.”

Dr. Smith was honored by Governor Ralph Northam, First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, and Lane in a virtual recognition event.

“To be recognized for any accomplishment that is laced and associated with Mary Peake is nothing short of being absolutely amazing and humbling. It is humbling because Mary Peake’s legacy of impact sets the standard for all of us. The fact that her life’s mission is deeply rooted in Hampton, Virginia makes this moment even more special for us and me in particular,” Smith said.

Click here to read more about the Mary Peake Educational Equity Award winner.

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