Growing up, Dr. Michael Gill’s household’s household always valued education. His mother taught for 40 years and while he didn’t decide to go into teaching until halfway through his undergraduate work, he has never regretted the decision.
“The biggest thrill that I get is when a former student looks me up and thanks me for assisting them in some way,” Gill said. “A simple thank you makes all of the work more than worthwhile.”
Gill describes his professional career as somewhat traditional. Throughout his professional journey, he has served as a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, a middle school principal, the executive principal for career and technical education and also the director of middle school education. He worked mostly in Chesterfield County Public Schools until 2014, when he went to Hanover as the assistant superintendent for instructional leadership. Most recently, Gill became the county’s 13th Superintendent of Schools.
As Hanover County superintendent, he plans to concentrate on providing the most relevant learning experience “so students are both well versed in their many career path options and well prepared in order to succeed in whichever pathway they choose.” While he agrees there will always be room for improvement, Gill thinks public education often receives unfair criticism.
“Those who dedicate their lives to education are among the most professional, skilled and undervalued employees in any sector.”
“It has been my experience that the overwhelming majority of those who dedicate their lives to education are among the most professional, skilled and undervalued employees in any sector,” Gill said. “With that in mind, I want the community to know that their children are in the best of hands in our classrooms.”
After receiving three degrees from VCU and teaching as a professor of practice in the Ed.D program for four years, Gill calls his time at VCU a testament to how he feels about the university and the School of Education. He originally chose the VCU School of Education because of the school’s reputation, outstanding professors and also the convenience for Richmond-area residents. One of his favorite memories occurred after his Ph.D. defense when his capstone committee said, “Congratulations, Dr.Gill.” While he doesn’t necessarily care for titles, he said “it symbolized years of hard work and was a proud moment for me.”
“Simply put, I owe a lot to VCU and am proud to call myself a Ram,” Gill said. “As a lifelong Richmond-area resident, I’m especially proud to see the growth of VCU and the quality of the School of Education. It makes Richmond proud.”
For students interested in similar career paths, Gill suggests two key things. First, students should make sure they truly have a passion for teaching and second, they should never stop learning.
“The best teachers are those who dedicate themselves to staying current and being the best learners,” Gill said.