The Board of Education of Charles County recently recognized former Board Member Virginia McGraw for her exceptional leadership and dedication with Charles County Public Schools (CCPS). She is a well-loved figure in the education world spending 25 years of her 45- year career with CCPS.
Chairperson Michael Lukas presented the James E. Richmond Leadership in Excellence Award to McGraw at the December Board meeting. As he began to describe the depth of the award, she was surprised to see her family members, friends and former colleagues walk into the boardroom. “Mrs. McGraw epitomizes the commitment, dedication and passion for education and the achievement of children,” Lukas said.
McGraw has had a successful and positive career. From being named a 2008-2009 Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award Winner and 2009 CCPS Principal of the Year to being named president of Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) in 2021, she has had a notable career. MABE is a nonprofit dedicated to serving and supporting boards of education in Maryland, made up of all 24 Maryland boards of education.
When she received the Richmond award, McGraw was in pure shock. “I absolutely had no clue,” McGraw said. “I looked to my right and saw a good friend of mine come in the boardroom. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected that to happen. I really am honored.”
The award was established in 2013 to honor CCPS staff members who exhibit high standards of excellence and leadership. The award is named in honor of former longtime Superintendent James E. Richmond, who spent his entire educational career with CCPS. Former Board of Education Chairman Col. Donald M. Wade launched the award to honor Richmond when he announced his retirement plans.
McGraw began her career in education as a teacher with the District of Columbia Public Schools and then in 1990 she started working for CCPS as a special education teacher at Mt.
Hope/Najemoy Elementary School. After serving as a teacher for six years, McGraw then became an assistant principal (AP) at the school. Shortly after her assistant principal appointment at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy, she became an AP at William B. Wade Elementary School for two years right before she received her first principal appointment at Gale-Bailey Elementary School. “I was there for four years before I was sent to J.P. Ryon Elementary School, and I was there for nine years. From J.P. Ryon I went back to Wade, and that’s where I ended my career,” McGraw said.
“My mantra is to believe teachers and parents need to believe in their children and if they do, children will succeed,” McGraw said in her acceptance speech as the 2009 CCPS the Principal of the Year.
Chairperson Lukas spearheaded McGraw’s award recognition. “I could not think of a more deserving person to receive the Richmond Leadership Award than our colleague and friend, Mrs. Virginia McGraw. She is most deserving of this award for all that she has done for the school system, families and children in Charles County,” Lukas said.
A plaque featuring the Richmond Leadership Award honorees is on display outside of the boardroom at the CCPS Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. One honoree is selected for the award annually. The plaque features McGraw’s name, which honors her time spent serving CCPS and the Board of Education.