Following a public hearing last evening on the appointment of a new school board representative for the White Hall magisterial district, Albemarle County School Board members unanimously voted to appoint an experienced education professional, Dr. Rebecca Berlin, to the seat. Effective January 1, 2023, Berlin will succeed David Oberg, who has represented the White Hall district for the past seven years. Berlin will serve the final year of Oberg’s term, which expires on December 31, 2023.
Among her qualifications, Berlin has served both public and private schools in meeting various instructional priorities, including working with early learners and learners who are struggling to master content. She has been an early childhood special education teacher, an inclusion teacher, an autism specialist, and a school administrator. Berlin earned a doctorate in research, policy and administration from the University of Virginia and recently authored a chapter in the book, Child Care Justice: Transforming the System of Care for Young Children.
“I am excited by this opportunity to serve my community,” Berlin told school board members in her interview on December 1, focusing on the urgency for closing opportunity and achievement gaps among various student demographic groups; enhancing mental health supports for students and staff; and investing to ensure the school division can manage and thrive amid the challenges of the county’s continued growth and development.
“I know the pandemic has received a great deal of attention in explaining why the gaps in assessment test scores among students has widened. The fact is, however, that these gaps were present prior to the pandemic. Our math, reading and science scores are among the lowest in the state. We know we can do better than that, and I believe my background in working with and counseling students and teachers to improve academic success will help,” Berlin said.
Specifically concerning the White Hall district that she will represent, Berlin counted the following among the issues on which she will concentrate: anticipating the needs that continued population growth will produce; making certain that all schools have the resources they need to support all students; improving the engagement of every family with their child’s education; and strengthening the school division’s capabilities to recruit and develop teachers.
When asked about Learning for All, the school division’s strategic plan, Berlin described its goals of thriving students, affirming and empowering communities, and delivering equitable and transformative resources as impressive. “These truly are transformational, but as is the case with all such aspirations, what will most matter is how quickly and how effectively they can be achieved. I look forward to being a part of those achievements,” she said.
The one-year vacancy on the school board was created on October 28, 2022, when Oberg announced his resignation effective December 31 of this year. Berlin was one of nine residents of the White Hall district who applied for the one-year appointment. You can view her interview with the school board at this link: https://youtu.be/_lqeTzj5Wxs
Berlin’s first business meeting on the school board will be its organizational meeting on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Board members will select a chair and vice chair for 2023, decide committee appointments for the new year, and set its meeting dates for the year. Unless otherwise noted, school board meetings are held in Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville and are livestreamed at: http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/schoolboard.htm
Pictured: Dr. Rebecca Berlin
DATE: December 16, 2022
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Strategic Communications Officer