After serving in public education for 33 years, Dr. Walter R. Clemons, Superintendent of Gloucester County Public Schools and the 2023 Virginia Superintendent of the Year, will retire effective July 1, 2023. Clemons made the public announcement at the school board work session on the evening of January 19, 2023. Clemons said the decision to retire is one of the most difficult decisions that he has ever made as he truly loves being the Superintendent of Schools in such a wonderful county and he loves his students, staff, families and the entire Gloucester community. He also said the decision is extremely heartfelt and emotional and came after much thought, prayer and consultation with his family. He further indicated that he appreciates the opportunity that has been provided to him by the Gloucester County School Board to serve as the Superintendent of Schools, and he greatly appreciates the overwhelming support that has been shown to him by his loving wife LaGuamna, son Walter R. II, the school board, staff, families and the entire community as a whole during his tenure. Clemons said it has been a blessing being the Superintendent of Gloucester County Public Schools and he gives God all the glory, honor and praise for allowing him to have a career in which he could be of service to others.
Dr. Clemons has served in the capacity of Superintendent of Schools for Gloucester County Schools since July 1, 2014. Under his leadership, Gloucester County Public Schools academic performance is listed as being in the top 15% (https://www.schooldigger.com) of all school divisions in the Commonwealth of Virginia as it relates to the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments. Dr. Clemons said he is also extremely proud of the development of the District Comprehensive Plan, capital improvement initiatives that have been completed or are underway as well as the progress that has been made regarding providing competitive compensation and benefits for all staff. Clemons attributes the success of the division to the amazing students, teachers, staff, school board, families and the partnership between the school division and county government officials.
Clemons is a native of Smithfield, VA (Isle of Wight County), and is the son of the late Walter (Buddy) and Mary (Hazel) Clemons. Growing up, Dr. Clemons had a love for music, and after graduating from Smithfield High School, furthered his post-secondary education in instrumental music as a trumpet major and piano minor. Dr. Clemons educational background includes receiving a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Norfolk State University, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from Old Dominion University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Virginia Tech. In his 33-year career, Dr. Clemons has served in the capacities of teacher (middle & high school band director), assistant principal (middle & high school), principal (high school), assistant superintendent and superintendent. In addition to being named the Virginia Superintendent of the Year and the Region III Superintendent of the Year for 2023, Dr. Clemons was named as a Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2021 and named the Region III Superintendent of the Year in 2018 by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Dr. Clemons was also appointed by former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam as a member (2016) of the Virginia School Readiness Committee. Prior to serving as superintendent for Gloucester County Public Schools, Dr. Clemons served as superintendent of schools for three years (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2014) for Northampton County Public Schools, located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Dr. Clemons considers himself to be a lifelong learner and has a true passion for seeing all students reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Clemons views providing quality feedback to administrators and teachers as being a critical component in improving academic success for all students. Dr. Clemons is currently a member of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, the American Association of School Administrators, the Urban Superintendents Association of America where he serves as Vice President of the Northeastern States and serves as the Secretary of the Region III Superintendents of Virginia. Dr. Clemons also currently serves as a member of the Gloucester County Public Schools Educational Foundation, the Norfolk State University School of Business Advisory Board, the Virginia Risk Sharing Association (VRSA) Supervisory Board, the Board of Directors for Riverside Walter Reed Hospital (RWRH) and the Smithfield High School Packer Charities where he serves as the Director of Educational Outreach. Dr. Clemons is a life member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and a life member of the Norfolk State University Alumni Association.
School Board Chair Mr. Troy M. Andersen states, “In 2014 when the Board hired Dr. Walter R. Clemons, there was a high level of excitement and confidence that he possessed the personality, skills and leadership attributes that would move our school division to heights never reached before, and I can say with 100% conviction that he has met and exceeded every expectation. While I am heartbroken by this decision and I would want nothing more than for him to stay, the Board understands and respects his decision and wishes him continued success in the future. We are grateful for his commitment and dedication to Gloucester County Public Schools and the entire Gloucester community. Dr. Clemons is leaving an indelible mark and his impeccable leadership has positioned our school division for great success for years to come.”
The Gloucester County School Board will provide information regarding what steps it will take moving forward regarding the successor to Dr. Clemons in the upcoming weeks.