Whitney Oakley, Ed.D., Superintendent
Dr. Whitney Oakley is the superintendent of Guilford County Schools (GCS), serving more than 68,000 PK-12 students and 10,000 employees at 126 schools. A Guilford County native, Oakley is a long-time educator and administrator who is passionate about helping all students thrive.
Raised in Greensboro, N.C., Oakley attended GCS from kindergarten to high school and began her career as a teacher at Frazier Elementary in GCS before serving as an assistant principal and principal in the Alamance-Burlington School System.
Oakley returned to GCS in 2012 and served the district in multiple leadership roles, including executive director of elementary curriculum and assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and professional development.
In 2019, Oakley was named chief academic officer of GCS, where she developed the district’s instructional framework and standardized high-quality curriculum across elementary, middle and high schools to ensure equitable access to on-grade level content; led job-embedded professional learning initiatives for teachers; and implemented instructional programming and professional learning programs focused on English learners and students with disabilities. She also spearheaded GCS’ 164-member task force in the development of an award-winning school re-entry plan following COVID-19 school closures.
Under Oakley’s leadership as chief academic officer, the district achieved the highest graduation rate in GCS history (91.8%), including the highest graduation rate for Black and Hispanic students. In 2022, 10 GCS high schools posted perfect graduation rates – with 100% of all students who started high school in the fall of 2018 graduating within four years. The district also significantly reduced graduation rate gaps for students of color and improved test scores in math and reading for all student groups. Additionally, the district recovered at a faster rate in math grades 3-8 for all students and by student groups compared to the state and other large districts in North Carolina.
In 2021, Oakley was appointed deputy superintendent of GCS, where she played an instrumental role in the design of eight new schools in the district; launched nationally recognized learning hubs and tutoring programs to accelerate learning; and strengthened professional development opportunities for principals and teachers.
Throughout her career, Oakley has received several recognitions and awards for her extraordinary vision and leadership, including The Triad Business Journal 40 Leaders Under 40 Award, Wachovia Piedmont-Triad/Central Region’s Principal of the Year award in 2010 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding visual and performing arts programming in 2020. Most recently, she helped GCS secure the North Carolina School Public Relations Gold Award for the GCS Reopening Plan in 2021.
Oakley holds a Bachelor of Science in special education from East Carolina University, a Master of Education in elementary education from Greensboro College, a Specialist in Education and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). She lives in Guilford County with her husband and two children, who are both currently enrolled in GCS.