The Guilford County Board of Education looked all over the country and then found what they wanted standing right in front of them.

On Wednesday, Aug. 31, the Guilford County school board name Acting Guilford County School Superintendent Whitney Oakley as the new superintendent of Guilford County Schools (GCS).

The vote to hire Oakley was 8-1.  School board member Bettye Jenkins voted no.

Not only was Oakley serving as the acting school superintendent but she is a native of Guilford County and a product of Guilford County Schools.

Oakley started her career in education teaching with GCS at Frazier Elementary School and then served as an assistant principal and principal in the Alamance-Burlington School District.

In 2012, Oakley returned to GCS and served as chief academic officer and assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and professional development before being appointed deputy superintendent in September 2021.

In January, Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras announced she would be stepping down and her official last day of work was Aug. 31.  In May, the Guilford County School Board appointed Oakley acting superintendent during the transition period.

Oakley is a graduate of East Carolina University, has a masters from Greensboro College and a doctorate in education from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

In a press release, Oakley said, “GCS is a great place to learn, work and grow.  Having grown up in Guilford County and as a parent of two GCS students, I have a unique vantage point of where we’ve been, where we are today, and where I see us headed.  I believe GCS’ brightest days are ahead of us, and I’m honored to serve our school district as its next superintendent.”

Guilford County Board of Education Chair Deena Hayes-Green said, “Dr. Oakley has spent most of her career serving the students and families of Guilford County.  She is a collaborative leader who is deeply invested in the success of our community. She is a homegrown leader determined to break down barriers to all children can achieve their full potential.”