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The Honorable Atif Qarni at the 2018 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity

Virginia is for all LEARNERS and it’s important to look at every aspect of education through an equity lens, the Honorable Atif Qarni, Virginia’s Secretary of Education said in his remarks at the 2018 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity.

Governor Ralph Northam challenged Secretary Qarni, he said, to get a good, thorough understanding of what the communities – rural and urban alike – really want for education.

What Secretary Qarni said he is seeing across the state is a growing desire for early education and career pathways, predicting that K-12 will shift to more of a P-11 model due that growing early education demand and emphasis on work-based learning opportunities.

Secretary Qarni also emphasized a need to elevate the profession of education, saying that there is a misconception that quality education only occurs in the affluent areas of Virginia. He’s seen exceptional instruction all over the Commonwealth, he said.

Thank you, Secretary Qarni, for your focus on education throughout Virginia and the impact it has on rural Virginia prosperity.

To watch the recorded Facebook live video of his remarks, go here.


The annual Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity, hosted by the Virginia Rural Center, was held in 2018 from October 21-22 in Staunton, Virginia. The summit featured a keynote address by Governor Ralph Northam, panel discussions on rural economic development and workforce development, and remarks from multiple members of the Governor’s cabinet.

Attendees also learned about the latest in rural broadband innovations from the Governor’s Chief Broadband Advisor, Evan Feinman, and got an update on the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan from the Honorable Shannon Valentine, Virginia Secretary of Transportation.

Activities commenced with an evening welcome reception on Sunday, October 21 with an address from the Honorable Brian Ball, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

Economic development officials, elected officials, business and community leaders, local government officials, trade organizations and policymakers from across the Commonwealth were all in attendance.

Throughout the event, presenters discussed innovations in broadband connectivity, state economic development initiatives, regional asset development and entrepreneurship, and innovative workforce solutions.

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