Ashby Kilgore’s career in education spanned more than four decades, having worked as a teacher, principal and deputy superintendent. In 2007, she was appointed superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, the first woman to lead the 30,000-student school division.
Leading an agenda focused on college, career, and citizen readiness, the school division created initiatives that set high expectations for all students. The initiatives included Early College and Early Career in partnership with Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly Thomas Nelson CC); Career Pathways and STEM innovations with a 417% increase in career certification; a youth development movement and the summer SPARK initiative, resulting in a 93% graduation rate, a 2% dropout rate and a decrease in suspensions as options for student leadership and success expanded.
In 2012, Kilgore was named a 2012 Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Fellow in recognition of her career achievements. She is also the recipient of a 2016 Urban League of Hampton Roads Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Leader Award in Education, the 2015 Humanitarian Award presented by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and the 2014 Thomas Nelson Community College Medallion.
Although she is retired, Kilgore remains active in her community and continues her work to advance career internships for high school students. She currently serves on the boards of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, the Virginia Living Museum, and WHRO Public Media.