Dr. Agnella Katrise Perera joined Isle of Wight County Schools as Division Superintendent in July 2011. A self-proclaimed life long learner, she immediately engaged in the community to develop a shared vision of preparing all students for academic excellence in the 21st century.
Dr. Perera is widely recognized for her innovative leadership style and vision for a progressively global learning environment for all grade levels. Under her leadership, there has been an expansion of new opportunities for online courses and dual enrollment opportunities with Virginia State University and Paul D. Camp Community College. A 1:1 iPad initiative was also implemented for all 9th – 12th grade students as part of the division’s i-SLE 21 (Initiative for Student Learning and Engagement in the 21st) program. IWCS is currently the only school division with a 1:1 iPad initiative in Region II and has been recognized as a model for technology initiatives by the Virginia Department of Education.
During her tenure as superintendent of IWCS, she led the division to accreditation each year – including 2011 District Accreditation from AdvancedED & the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). IWCS is ranked fourth academically out of fifteen school divisions in Region II, with a decrease in the division’s dropout rate to less than 5%, an increase in the division’s on-time (4-year cohorts) graduation rate to 89% and an increase in the number of students attending a two or four-year college to an all-time high of 73%. SAT scores have improved by 23 points when compared with the state average and graduates of the division continue to receive scholarship awards in excess of $7-plus million. During her tenure, the Virginia Department of Education and the governor’s office has recognized a few of our elementary schools, and in 2014 one of our elementary schools was awarded a National Blue Ribbon. In addition, the school division was recognized by the Virginia School Board Association for its environmentally friendly efforts and awarded the 2012 GO GREEN GOLD School Division of The Year & the 2013 PLATINUM AWARD winner for divisions 10,000 students or less.
Before coming to Isle of Wight County, she served as a school improvement officer (SIO) or area superintendent in the nation’s seventh largest school district Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Houston, Texas. In Houston ISD she served ten schools, contributed to improving and stabilizing the middle school enrollment, increasing the at or above grade level reading and math scores by 8%, and decreasing the dropout rate by 3%. She led the planning, start-up, and opening of a 6th -12th grade all-female college preparatory academy designed to deliver a curriculum that emphasized Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education. The most rewarding of her experiences in HISD was that she was able to contribute to the development of a comprehensive secondary reform plan to turnaround some of the lowest performing schools (Apollo 20 Schools) in partnership with Harvard University. In order to achieve this – she worked collaboratively with the curriculum, instruction, and assessment departments to develop a rigorous K-12 curriculum aligned to state and national standards.
Prior to her service in Houston ISD, she was employed in Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) in Richmond, Virginia whereshe served very effectively as a teacher, coach and administrative aide at Harry F. Byrd Middle School; assistant principal at Short Pump Middle School; and principal of John Rolfe Middle School. Before accepting the SIO position in HISD, Dr. Perera led the opening of Elko Middle School in Henrico County Public Schools, which she led to full accreditation and NCLB excellence each year. She began her education career as a teacher in Charlottesville City Schools in 1994.
Dr. Perera has presented at national and state conferences over the years. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her educational accomplishments, including the 2009 Henrico County Public Schools Instructional Leader of the Year and Level II Principal of Distinction endorsement recognition from Virginia Department of Education. Most recently noted by the District Administration Leadership Institute as a quintessential multi-tasker and named to their executive board, and as a testament to her ability to multitask – recently, she successfully defended dissertation for her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Study from Virginia Tech. She also holds a Post-Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Merchandising/Marketing from the University of Louisiana where she was a premiere college athlete.
She and her husband are proud parents of twin daughters.