Appointed as education secretary in 2014, Holton pushed to cut back on standardized testing and has championed the state’s efforts to rewrite the high school curriculum to better connect students with the modern needs of the workforce.
The daughter of former Virginia governor A. Linwood Holton (R), she attended a historically all-black Richmond city school as her father pushed for school integration in the state. She also holds a law degree from Harvard University and spent part of her career representing low-income youth. She later served as a judge in Richmond’s juvenile and domestic relations court.
The governor also appointed Jamelle S. Wilson, dean of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Richmond, to the board of education.
The governor appoints all members of the board of education, which helps set education policy for the state and establish curriculum. In the coming months, the board will also be working to overhaul the state’s accountability system and high school graduation requirements.