Royal A. Gurley Jr.

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Royal A. Gurley, Jr., c. 2021

Royal A. Gurley, Jr. is the superintendent of the Charlottesville City School District. The Superintendent serves as the full-time chief administrative officer of the Charlottesville City Public Schools. He previously served as the assistant superintendent for academic services of Dinwiddie County Public Schools, the fifty-ninth largest district in Virginia, with over 4,200 students and 600 employees.

On October 4, 2021, Gurley becomes the first Black man and the first publicly gay man to lead the Charlottesville City Schools when he was appointed superintendent following the resignation of Dr. Rosa Atkins.[1] Atkins held the position for 15 years before moving into a leadership role with the state Department of Education. Acting Superintendent Jim Henderson came out of retirement to serve as the bridge from Atkins to her permanent replacement. In July 2023, the Charlottesville City School Board replaced Gurley's original contract[2] with a new four-year contract, extending his term through 2027.


Early life and education

Gurley holds a bachelor's degree in sociology, a master's degree in education and a doctorate in education administration, all from Virginia State University. (Virginia State University is a public historically Black land-grant university in Ettrick, Virginia. Founded on March 6, 1882.) He is a member of the Virginia Department of Education Equity Task Force and Return to School Task Force and also serves on the committee of the Virginia Social Emotional Learning Stakeholder Workgroup.

Gurley is an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity member.

Personal life

Dr. Gurley and his husband, Derrek Carter-Gurley, will be relocating to Charlottesville with their labradoodle, Cooper.


Dr. Royal A. Gurley, Jr., Ed.D. previously served as the assistant superintendent for academic services of the Dinwiddie County Public Schools since 2017. Dinwiddie County Public Schools contains 7 schools and 4,189 students. (Dinwiddie County Public Schools spends $11,770 per student each year. It has an annual revenue of $55,702,000. Overall, the district spends $6,445.6 million on instruction, $4,496.9 million on support services and $399.8 million on other expenses.)

His career also includes being a building administrator, director of special education, instructional technology integrator, teacher, and member of the armed forces.

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  1. Web. Dinwiddie administrator named Charlottesville schools chief, makes history with appointment. Dr. Royal Gurley Jr. is the first Black man and the first gay man to helm the city's 3,900-student school system. The School Board chairperson says members are 'united in our support' of him.', Bill Atkinson (he/him/his) is the regional daily news coach for the USA TODAY Network Southeast Region's Unified Central group, The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Virginia, September 2, 2021, retrieved August 28, 2022.
  2. Web. Gurley Named As Charlottesville’S School Superintendent, News Article, Town Crier Priductions, Charlottesville, Virginia, September 3, 2021, retrieved September 17, 2021.

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