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Jillian Balow resigns from Virginia Department of Education

Crixell Matthews
VPM News File
Jillian Balow resigned from her position as Virginia's superintendent of public instruction. She was appointed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin in January 2022.

The superintendent of public instruction's tenure was marked with high-profile fights.

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow informed Gov. Glenn Youngkin Wednesday morning that she will resign from her post.

Balow, a former classroom teacher and state superintendent in Wyoming, was nominated to the Virginia Department of Education post by Youngkin at the start of his term in 2022. In her resignation letter, Balow highlighted her work implementing the Virginia Literacy Act and praised the governor for focusing on workforce-related educational initiatives.

“Because of our work, many more students will have access to career and technical education courses that better prepare them for the next steps in their lives,” Balow wrote.

Her tenure at VDOE was marked with high-profile fights over issues including revised state standards for history education and the treatment of transgender students in schools.

Virginia Education Association President James Fedderman criticized Balow in a statement, pointing to the delayed history standards among other issues. Fedderman expressed hope that Balow's resignation would not delay the standards further.

"It is critical that these standards be finalized so that educators and curriculum planners have adequate time to include the new standards in lesson preparation," Fedderman said. "Students deserve a high quality history curriculum and that can’t happen if the Youngkin administration uses every opportunity to kick the can down the road with new excuses for delays."

The announcement contained few details on her upcoming plans, though it noted she intends to stay in the state. She wrote she will continue “advocating for parents” and said, “many other states are eager to follow [Youngkin’s] lead.”

Balow did not announce a specific departure date; she will work with Youngkin’s team to ease the transition. The letter also says she will continue to work with Youngkin's administration as a consultant.

A spokesperson for the governor said Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera will oversee the department's operations while a new superintendent is found.

Disclosure: VPM News is pursuing litigation against the Virginia Department of Education over open records laws.

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