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"Trailblazers for Equal Rights:

Virginia Educators Who Made a  Difference"

Panel Discussion

Presented by the Curry School of Education

Date:Monday, January 23, 2012
Location:Bavaro Hall, 116
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.

The event "Trailblazers for Equal Rights: Virginia Educators Who Made a Difference" will feature a distinguished panel comprised of four former and current Virginia educators who have devoted their lives to educational access and equity for all children enrolled in our public schools. Their careers span across a 60 year period which predated the Brown decision of 1954. Come join us for this unique and instructive experience! 

The panel will address the following questions:

What happened to African American teachers and principals after the desegregation of Virginia's public schools?  What resources were provided to facilitate the move from a segregated to an integrated system of schooling?  How can we use the past to inform current and future reforms designed to bolster the achievement of African American students?



Howard "Hank" Allen is a retired Associate Professor of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Mr. Allen taught and coached at John W. Langston High School in Danville, Va. before being recruited by the University of Virginia to join the staff of its Consultative Resource Center for School Desegregation, also known as the Curry Desegregation Center. The center ran on a federal grant from 1967 to 1981. Mr. Allen led the center from 1973 to its closing, and with a staff designed and supervised desegregation seminars for teachers and school administrators. A 1980 Center report documented workshops in 90 school districts that year for 950 individuals in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.


Rosa Atkins, Ed.D. was hired as Superintendent for the Charlottesville City School Division in July 2006. Her breadth of experience spans urban, suburban, and rural settings. She has worked as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, Director of Leadership Development, Director of Instruction, and Assistant Superintendent. For 2011, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents named Dr. Atkins as the Region 5 Superintendent of the Year and the Virginia State Superintendent of the Year. She was honored as the 2011 Alumnus of the Year for Professional Education at VSU. She served as the 2010-2011 President of the Women Education Leaders in Virginia and she sits on a number of local, state, and national committees and boards.


James H. Bash, Ed.D. is Professor Emeritus in School Administration of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. He is the founding faculty member of the Consultative Resource Center for School Desegregation, a federally funded educational center based in Curry that addressed desegregation issues in Virginia public schools. As its director from 1967 to 1971, Mr. Bash designed a nationally recognized teaching model for cross-racial understanding and authored several publications on effective teaching and administration in desegregated schools. Before his retirement in 1991, he created and taught a variety of courses and served as the executive secretary of the Curry School of Education Foundation.


Rebecca S. Branch began her career as a teacher in Chesterfield County Public Schools in 1951. In January 1962, she was appointed head teacher of Dupuy Elementary School and became teaching principal later that year. She held this position until 1967 when she became principal of Dupuy and Union Grove Elementary Schools. In August 1968, she became full time principal of Dupuy Elementary School, a position she held for three years. After mandatory desegregation policies were implemented in Chesterfield County, Mrs. Branch  become associate principal of the previously segregated Ettrick Elementary School. She became principal the following year and served in this position until her retirement in 1983. She is believed to be one of a few (if not the only) African American principals who was not demoted in Virginia during the implementation of mandatory school desegregation policies.