By: Meredith Baker, Staff Writer
July 19, 2017 | 12:48 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – The Dinwiddie County School Board has selected Dr. Royal Gurley to be the new assistant superintendent of academic services.
Gurley has served students with special needs as the division’s director of exceptional education for the past five years, but he will now fill the position left open by Dr. Kari Weston’s selection as superintendent. The board members and Weston congratulated Gurley on his appointment.
“It’s been a great two years, and so I look forward to the amazing work we’re going to do for the kids in this county together,” Weston said. “I can’t wait to learn from you and to learn alongside you in the years to come.”
Gurley is originally from Sussex County, but he began his career in Surry. He has 15 years of experience in education, working in both suburban and rural school settings. He credits his decision to go into education to the example of his mother, who is in her 38th year as a special educator and was in the field of education all throughout his childhood.
“It’s been very important in our household,” Gurley said, “and both my mom and my dad stressed the importance of going to college.”
Gurley did not originally plan to be a teacher, but after earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Virginia State University and working with children as an intern, he began to wish he had studied education, and the door opened for him to pursue that path.
“I landed a job in Surry, and they were very supportive and gave me a solid foundation, and I had a lot of good mentors,” Gurley said.
Gurley returned to VSU to earn a master’s degree in education, eventually earning a doctorate of education in educational administration and supervision, as well. He also holds a post-baccalaureate certificate in instructional technology and a post-master’s certificate in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Gurley has served as a teacher, instructional technology integrator, special education coordinator, and adjunct professor at Longwood University. He came to Dinwiddie County Public Schools in 2011 and served as an assistant principal at Dinwiddie High School for one year prior to becoming the director of exceptional education for the division.
Gurley said that one of his biggest goals for the upcoming year is to continue to forge partnerships within the community and thereby open up more opportunities for students to participate in internships and externships.
“We have a lot of community stakeholders, and we have a lot of smart people in our community who have a lot to add,” Gurley said.
Gurley said that he is excited about his new position and honored to be working with Weston.
“I am extremely honored to be selected as the Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services,” Gurley said in a press release. “Working with the students, staff, and parents of Dinwiddie County over the past six years has proven to be some of the most rewarding years of my career. As I embark upon this new endeavor, I see it as an opportunity to forge new relationships with parents and community members, while continuing to support learning environments that foster student growth.”