Dr. Jared A. Cotton began his educational journey in Chesapeake as a proud graduate of Great Bridge High School. After graduation, he attended Tidewater Community College, where he discovered a passion for teaching, earning an associate’s degree in Education. He continued his education at Old Dominion University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education. Then, he received a master’s degree in Educational Administration from The George Washington University and earned his doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from The George Washington University in 2003. He holds an Instructional Technology Certificate from the University of Virginia and a Certificate in Change Leadership from Cornell University. In 2011, Dr. Cotton attended the Leadership Institute for Superintendents at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He received his National Superintendent Certification through the AASA, The School Superintendents Association in 2016.
He returned to Chesapeake in 1992, where he started his twenty-five-year career in education as a 5th-grade teacher at Crestwood Intermediate School, where he once attended as an elementary student. He later served in various roles throughout the division to include Instructional Technology Specialist, Summer School Coordinator for the Chesapeake Career Center (formerly known as the Center for Science and Technology), Assistant Principal at both Hickory Middle School and E. W. Chittum Elementary School, Principal at G. A. Treakle Elementary School, and Director of Assessment and Accountability.
Dr. Cotton served for more than six years as the Associate Superintendent for Educational Leadership and Assessment for Virginia Beach City Public Schools before being appointed as the Superintendent for Henry County Public Schools in 2012. He served Henry County for over six years, and was named the 2019 Virginia State Superintendent of the Year by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Recently, Dr. Cotton was awarded the 2022 Communication Technology Award for Superintendents by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).
Dr. Cotton has a strong background in strategic planning and curriculum and instruction. As Superintendent of Henry County Public Schools, he facilitated revisions to the strategic plan guiding their division. As a result, Henry County Public Schools continues to experience success.
Dr. Cotton believes curriculum and instruction should be the core business of a school system. In that regard, he initiated the development of the current curriculum in use in Henry County, one that focuses on student development and the demonstration of critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. This focus has yielded high results in the area of student achievement for Henry County.
Dr. Cotton brings skills and abilities to Chesapeake that include a collaborative leadership style; expertise in strategic planning, curriculum, and instruction; and an ability to address critical needs in spite of limited resources. He and his wife, Joanna—who is an educator as well—are relocating to Chesapeake and have two grown children, William and Michaela.