Dr. Daphne Keiser Is the Division’s Next Assistant Superintendent for School Community Engagement

Daphne Keiser

At its meeting last evening, the Albemarle County School Board approved the appointment of Dr. Daphne Keiser as the division’s new Assistant Superintendent for School Community Engagement, effective July 1. Dr. Keiser succeeds Dr. Bernard Hairston, who is retiring at the end of this month.

Dr. Keiser currently is the school division’s Director of Talent, where her primary responsibilities include the recruitment and hiring of employees across the school division, including as many as 200 or more teachers each year; leading the search process for new administrators for the division’s 25 schools; and succession planning at the school and central office levels. One area where Dr. Keiser’s leadership has had a substantial impact this year was in expanding the diversity of the division’s faculty. This year, following several initiatives designed by Dr. Keiser, almost 20% of new hires were teachers of color, which represented an increase of 70% from the prior year.

In her new role, Dr. Keiser will lead the implementation of such strategic plan values as family and community partnerships and goals that include affirming and empowering communities and making possible equitable and transformative resources for all students. Dr. Keiser will direct the Office of Family and Community Partnership, the Office of Strategic Communications, and the school division’s equity education specialists and volunteer and outreach programs.

“The best decisions are those that are informed by the life experiences and perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders—employees, students, families, and community partners,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Matthew Haas. “The information and guidance we receive from those most impacted by our decisions will help ensure that we make the right decisions in such critical areas as school safety, our learning environments and curriculum, and our investments,” Haas explained.

“Dr. Keiser’s deep experience leading two schools as their principal, her recognition as a National Educator of the Year by the Milken Foundation, and her leadership as the Director of CATEC all were distinguished by her passion for equity, not just in the classroom, but also in her abilities to connect with and welcome families and community partners,” Haas added. “She clearly is the best person at the best time to be leading our equity and community engagement work forward,” he said.

Dr. Keiser’s operational responsibilities will include leading the division’s equity and diversity policies and its programs to embed best practices that eliminate the achievement gap among all student enrollment groups. Such programs include the division’s highly-heralded culturally responsive teaching program, in which teachers develop and apply strategies and practices that align with how each student learns based upon their culture and life experiences.

Tomorrow, the division is holding its 7th annual equity conference, during which a record 159 educators will be recognized for earning either certification in culturally responsive teaching or their micro-credential. This will bring the total number of educators across the division who are certified in culturally responsive teaching to 151, based upon their submission of evidence of academic growth and higher levels of performance that are closing achievement disparities in their classrooms. Another 216 educators in the division have earned their micro-credential, which is the first step toward certification.

“We live in unprecedented times, requiring strong, competent, courageous and creative leadership,” Dr. Keiser said. “If we are to meet the high potential of every student and of raising the level of our school division’s contributions to our community’s prosperity, our commitments to equity, academic excellence, the arts, and career and technical education must be unequalled. I am eager to use my passion and experience to achieve these high standards for our students, families and employees,” she emphasized.

In fully realizing the promise of the division’s strategic plan, Learning for All, Dr. Keiser’s responsibilities include:

  • Directing the implementation of the division’s anti-racism policy;
  • Expanding culturally responsive teaching and leadership programs to close achievement gaps;
  • Working with schools and departments to establish, maintain and grow strategic partnerships with families, businesses, civic organizations, government representatives, and colleges and universities;
  • After three years of the pandemic, revitalizing the division’s volunteer program to support schools; and
  • Redesigning the division’s outreach to students, families and residents to increase opportunities for input, with a concentration on historically underserved communities.

At CATEC, Dr. Keiser was instrumental in establishing business advisory councils, enhancing student access to career development opportunities, and in strategic planning that resulted in the formation of several career academies. She also served as the principal for two elementary schools in the Charlottesville City school division: Burnley-Moran and George Rogers Clark, where students made significant academic gains, particularly Black students, students with disabilities, those from economically disadvantaged homes, and English Learners.

She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Sussex County and later was a supervisor with UVA’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Keiser’s career in education spans 24 years, 13 of them in senior leadership roles. Among the organizations she has served during her career are Virginia’s Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the American Educational Research Association, the Board of the African-American Teaching Fellows, Women Education Leaders in Virginia, and the Virginia Associations of Elementary and Secondary School Principals.

Pictured: Dr. Daphne Keiser


CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049