(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia)—Ross Holden, who joined Albemarle County Public Schools in the fall of 2018 as the attorney for the school board, said today he will be retiring from his position at the end of this calendar year. Holden was the first full-time school board attorney for the division. Previously, the division’s legal affairs were the responsibility of a member of the county attorney staff on a part-time basis.
As a member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet, Holden is a senior advisor to the school board, Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas, and the division’s leadership team on policy; litigation; legal documents; real estate transactions; compliance with county, state and federal regulations; human resource matters; and the hiring, when necessary, of outside counsel.
Prior to joining the school division, Holden was Executive Vice President & General Counsel for the New York City School Construction Authority, where he directed and managed an organization with a five-year capital budget of $17.5 billion, supporting the city’s 1,500 public school buildings. Twice during his tenure, Holden was appointed by the Authority’s board of trustees to serve as Acting President and Chief Executive Officer.
“As our first full-time school board attorney, Ross built a strong legal foundation and helped steer our division through some very consequential and complex legal challenges.” said Haas. “These challenges include the adoption of one of the first anti-racism policies by a public school division in the country, a pandemic, student safety and security through the negotiation of a new memorandum of understanding with the Albemarle County Police Department, as well as a policy to protect transgender students, the expansion of student centers, and the establishment of a non-profit educational foundation to fund learning innovation,” the superintendent added.
A passionate alum of the University of Virginia (UVA), from which he earned his undergraduate degree with Highest Distinction, Holden and his wife, Ricki, read about the school division’s search for full-time legal counsel during a trip to Charlottesville in 2018.
“For most of my professional career with the School Construction Authority, my focus was on the construction of new school buildings and the rehabilitation of existing facilities to create educational environments that facilitated student learning. Here, in Albemarle County, I had the benefit of visiting schools and seeing first-hand what happens inside of schools. The excitement and passion around the learning process has been a fulfilling experience,” Holden said. “I am grateful to the school division and my colleagues for providing me the opportunity to continue my career in public education in a place I truly love,” he said.
In addition to his undergraduate degree from UVA, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, Holden graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University Law School, where he was an editor of The Georgetown Law Journal.
Haas said the division will begin a search for Holden’s successor with a goal of having a new school board attorney appointed before December 31 of this year.
“Ross will be missed. Every day, in the legal advice he provided to our school board, Cabinet, and staff, he demonstrated why a full-time school board attorney—an outstanding one at that—is so invaluable to meeting our educational mission,” Haas said.
Pictured: Ross Holden
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs & Strategic Communications Officer