GCS Names Dr. Whitney Oakley as Interim Superintendent
May 10, 2022 - Deputy Superintendent Whitney Oakley will lead Guilford County Schools through the superintendent transition. At its meeting Tuesday night, the Guilford County Board of Education unanimously named Oakley acting superintendent starting July 11, and she will assume the position of interim superintendent Sept. 1.
“As an educator, parent, and long-time resident of Guilford County, it is an honor to serve our schools and our community in this capacity,” says Oakley, who will assume the position this summer and has two children enrolled in GCS.
A Greensboro native, Oakley attended Guilford County Schools from kindergarten to high school. She started her career as a teacher at Frazier Elementary in Guilford County before serving as an assistant principal and principal in the Alamance-Burlington School System. Oakley quickly established herself as a collaborative leader who understands the important role teachers, parents and community members play in improving life outcomes for children.
In 2012, Oakley returned to GCS, where she has held various leadership positions in the district, including chief academic officer and assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and professional development. She was appointed deputy superintendent in September 2021.
Under Superintendent Sharon Contreras’ leadership, Oakley led key academic initiatives, resulting in increased academic achievement in all tested subject areas at all levels and for all student demographic groups in 2019.
“She is the right person at the right time,” says Deena Hayes, board chairperson. “She knows the district, has shown leadership in bringing diverse groups of people together and is passionate about helping all students thrive.”
Oakley played a key role in the safe reopening of schools following the COVID-19 pandemic. She led the 164-member re-entry task force comprised of parents, teachers, staff and community members. The plan was replicated by districts across the country and won top awards from the North Carolina and National School Public Relations Associations.
Additionally, Oakley has been instrumental in designing the new schools as part of the $300 million school bond, launching nationally recognized learning hubs and high-dose tutoring programs to accelerate learning and strengthening professional development opportunities for principals and teachers.
Oakley has received numerous awards, including the Piedmont Triad/Central Region Principal of the Year and The Business Journal 40 Leaders Under 40 Award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from East Carolina University, a master’s degree in elementary education from Greensboro College and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Oakley will begin serving as interim superintendent following the departure of Contreras, who is joining The Innovation Project in Raleigh.
Also on Tuesday, the school board reviewed potential firms to assist in the district’s search for a new superintendent. The board voted to proceed with interviewing its top three rated search firms: the North Carolina School Boards Association, Summit Search Solutions and HYA – Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates.