After 30 years with the Albemarle County school division, Bernard Hairston is retiring as assistant superintendent for school community empowerment, the school system announced Friday.
In that role, he has led the implementation of the division’s anti-racism policy and the creation of the culturally responsive teaching program, which received the state’s highest educational equity award in 2021.
Teachers who have receive either a micro-credential or certification through the culturally responsive teaching program have seen student performance on state Standards of Learning tests have increased. Now, all newly hired teachers are required to earn a micro-credential or certification within three years. All other teachers are expected to go through the program within five years.
Hairston also has introduced and hosted annual equity conferences, spearheaded the creation of an annual equity report, and led the development of an equity policy checklist.
“What I most value about Dr. Hairston, having worked with him for nearly two decades, is his evidence-based, visionary and relentless efforts to push us to be better educators and leaders for all children,” schools Superintendent Matthew Haas said in the release. “The most solemn responsibility we have in public education is to ensure that every child, regardless of life circumstances, reaches their highest potential. As a matter of conscience, Dr. Hairston has kept us focused on this mission. He has always placed students first as a way to ensure they maximize their skills.”
Hairston also has served as the founding chapter president of the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, which has been recognized by the national organization as its chapter of the year. In addition, he supported the division’s first formal bullying prevention program when he was principal of Burley Middle School and the M-Cubed program that sought to increase the number of middle-school black males in Algebra I.
“My more than 40 years in education have gone by in the blink of an eye,” Hairston said in the news release. “I never dreamed as a young man that I would have the opportunity to work with so many outstanding professionals so strongly committed to positively impacting the lives of so many young people. My mother would be extremely proud.”