Governor names NNPS Chief Academic Officer to STEM Commission

Posted: August 6, 2019

Dr. James PohlGovernor Ralph Northam has appointed Dr. James Pohl, Chief Academic Officer, to the Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Commission. Dr. Pohl brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Commission and its vision. Prior to joining Newport News Public Schools in July 2019, he served as the Executive Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. He has 23 years of experience in public education having served as a math teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Dr. Pohl is one of 44 professionals named to the Commission whose members include a wide range of state and local stakeholders, including representatives of early childhood, K-12, post-secondary, out-of-school, informal, and environmental education programs, as well as workforce development, business and industry partners from every region of Virginia.

"I am honored to serve on the STEM Education Commission and I look forward to working with educators and business professionals from across Virginia to ensure that all young people are prepared for the skilled, high-demand STEM careers of the 21st century," said Dr. Pohl.

On July 17, 2019, Governor Northam signed an executive order establishing the Virginia STEM Education Commission. The Commission will develop a state STEM plan to create a unified statewide vision and dynamic set of shared goals to strategically inform how Virginia's students are prepared for the STEM jobs of the future.

"As a pediatric neurologist, I recognize the importance of having a strong STEM background, and have made enhancing the Commonwealth's STEM education a top priority of mine since day one," said Governor Northam. "Our ability to remain one of the best states for education, innovation and business depends upon how well we prepare our next generation for 21st century jobs. With its focus on addressing the evolving workforce needs and the persistent disparities in our education system, this Commission will play a key role in ensuring we give all our students an opportunity to succeed in STEM-related fields."

The Commission will seek to address the educational inequities which often limit access to advanced courses in STEM disciplines, credentials, and work-based learning for many of the Commonwealth's most vulnerable and underrepresented students. In doing so, the Commission will support state efforts to close the achievement opportunity gaps in STEM-related fields, meet the growing economic demand for STEM-prepared employees, and help Virginia maintain its recognition as the best state for business.

First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam will chair the Commission, which will issue a written report with its findings and recommendations no later than July 1, 2020.