Introducing; Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr.


Kiran Matthews

Dr.Gurley and his mother being interviewed by NBC29 News, following his oath into the superintendent position.

Kiran Matthews, Entertainment Editor

On the recent morning of October 4th, Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr, was sworn as superintendent into office at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center. The oath took place in the audience of a small group of family and friends, along with many joy-filled members of the school board who helped Dr. Gurley take the steps up into the position. I was lucky enough to have been invited to join C.B.S News and Fox Virginia, in interviewing Dr. Gurley on his outlook on the future of C.C.S schools and his plans moving forward. 

Coming in to take the Charlottesville City Schools superintendent position has been a significant step, but not one that Dr. Gurley is unprepared for. As a previous assistant superintendent for academic services within the Dinwiddie County Public Schools system, along with 20 years of experience being an equity ambassador, there seems to be no one more fitting for the position than Dr. Gurley himself. For more information on his goals moving forward, and his plans to do so, you can check out the Charlottesville City Schools website under the staff segment or click on the attached link:

Last week, Dr. Gurley released a letter to the staff, families, and community partners of the school system professionally and optimistically lays out solid plans going forward; many of which include stable points on listening, learning, and equity. Aside from the letter which can be found under the above link, the questions I was able  to ask alongside CBS and Fox news sources provided a deeper look into the personal motives and moves of Dr.Gurley’s position through this exciting time. 

When questioned on his main motives and standpoints moving into the new position, Dr.Gurley responded:

-“I think every challenge is an opportunity, and so these opportunities are just doors that we will open for our children and certainly my main focus is to keep our children safe. Once  that is established, then we will educate the children, and we will provide them with opportunities that will allow them to be successful.”


Along with conversation around his current goals surrounding how the city schools should operate, Dr.Gurley was also questioned on how coming into such a suburban setting, from Dinwiddie, a much more rural one, would affect his policymaking outlook:

– “I mean educating children is the same regardless of whether in an urban or suburban or rural setting. I mean sometimes the challenges and opportunities are different, and we will customize what we need to; to ensure that our students are successful. I believe that when you look at things through an equity lens, that you can support children regardless of the setting, whether they are in a suburban or rural setting.”


To shift from policy to personal feelings, Dr.Gurley was asked what he was most excited about moving into this whole new position and place, along with his current view on Charlottesville HIghschool in specific. 

-“I’m meeting the people of Charlottesville, and it’s just an amazing place. I mean since my husband and I have been here, we’ve met so many phenomenal people and support here. Central office staff,  the schools, the school board, I mean everyone, has just been so welcoming. You don’t find this everywhere, and so I don’t want the secret to get out too fast, because then everyone may start coming all at the same time. Regardless, I’m just very fortunate and grateful to be alongside these amazing people, including Dr.I. From what I’ve read, and from what I’ve seen so far, he’s an amazing principle. He’s done a lot of work; and if you’ve read recently, the graduation rate is up. The leadership here is what’s most important, a lot of great things for our children, so what I plan to do is continue to work alongside and support his vision, and I think all the right things are happening to close those gaps for our children”.  


Towards the end of the conference, Dr. Gurley was asked what he believed the most critical difficulties would be to focus on in recent weeks, which he responded to by illustrating:

-“Well, no two days are the same, some days we’re in the buildings, we’re working with the principles, we’re in the building with children, just conversing, seeing how their day is going. Some days you’re sitting in meetings, trying to make sure that the policies that you put in place often don’t lead to barriers for students, and they continue to open up opportunities for them. So, no two days are ever the same, particularly in education. For me, every day is about making sure that I am hands-on. 


The last question surrounded what Dr.Gurley believed a day to day would look like in his new position, which he explained:

  -“Um, you know, I am not sure what the most challenging thing would be, part of that is because, you know, and maybe the most challenging thing right now is that we are trying to manage covid, and with that, there are so many uncertainties when it comes to covid, we are trying to ensure the success of students, but we are also trying to make sure that we keep them safe also. Thus, those types of things pose challenges and difficulties. However, most certainly, those are not barriers that we cannot overcome”


Being able to attend Dr. Gurley’s initiation was an honor, and hearing his objectives for  the future became an inspiring appearance. Over the next few weeks, students are urged to reach out to Dr. Gurley, and spread both C.H.S and Charlottesville community to the new position.