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Aurora Institute

Aurora Institute Welcomes Virgel Hammonds as New CEO

Education Domain Blog

Headshot of Virgel. He is wearing glasses, a black blazer, light blue shirt and tie. Photo reads: "Virgel Hammonds, Chief Executive Officer, Aurora Institute. Welcome Virgel!"

Author(s): Aurora Institute

Issue(s): Aurora Institute

Today, the Aurora Institute Board of Directors announced that Virgel Hammonds, a nationally recognized leader in education innovation and systems change, will serve as CEO of the organization effective January 29, 2024. Virgel joins the Aurora Institute having most recently served as Chief Learning Officer of KnowledgeWorks and Board Chair of the Aurora Institute. He comes to Aurora with over two decades of experience working alongside young people, educators, communities, districts, and policymakers as they endeavor to become more learner-centered.

“The Aurora Institute Board of Directors is thrilled to have selected Virgel Hammonds as the organization’s next CEO,” said Aurora Board member Jackie Statum Allen. “Virgel is an exceptional leader who has dedicated his career to improving outcomes for young people. He brings a visionary approach to creating more just and equitable systems that are personalized for all learners, combined with a collaborative leadership style that will be of tremendous value to the organization. After an extensive search in partnership with an executive search firm involving outreach to hundreds of people, the Board is excited to be welcoming such an exceptional person to shepherd Aurora into this new era.”

During the last eight years at KnowledgeWorks, Virgel forged partnerships with national policymakers and local learning communities across the country to redesign learning systems to become more learner-centered, and worked to build tools and supports to help districts implement personalized, competency-based learning.

“I am ecstatic to begin my tenure in this new capacity at the Aurora Institute,” said Hammonds. “I have seen the tremendous impact that Aurora has had on the education innovation space and am excited to be granted the opportunity to lead the organization forward in its work. I am inspired by the many innovators that I see in Aurora’s network and across the country who are working to rethink how, when, and where learning can happen. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the organization as CEO.”

Virgel will officially join the organization on January 29, 2024, at which point interim CEO Dr. Loretta Goodwin will return to her position as Chief Operating Officer at the organization, and Amy Anderson will be assuming the role of Board Chair of the Aurora Institute. Aurora thanks Dr. Goodwin for her exemplary leadership over the past six months.