Virginia : A Muslim American, Pakistan origin man Atif Qarni who is also a military veteran, was appointed as the Secretary of Education for the state of Virgina by Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam.
As earlier on 21st of December Gov.-Elect Ralph Northam came to Beville Middle School in Dale City to announce Atif Qarni, an 8th-grade civics teacher at the school, would oversee the state’s education department, as reported in potomac local.
Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam quoted in a statement that ““It is very important to me that we have a secretary of education in the Commonwealth of Virginia that understands the classroom. Someone who knows K-12 education and has a vision of where to take K-12 in the coming years.”
He also added “If we want to build an economy that works better for every family, no matter who you are, no matter where you live, we must begin with the foundation of a world-class education. We can accomplish it if we support our educators and school support professionals, uphold accountability, invest in and expand STEAM curriculum, and make early childhood education a priority.”
According to Potomac Local article, Qarni received a phone call on Wednesday(i.e. 20 Dec) telling him he had been selected for the job after a two-week interview process. It is a job the 8th-grade teacher applied for because he feels he can use his experience from the classroom to make positive changes in Richmond.
“I’m looking forward to using the things I’ve learned in the last 10 years as a classroom teacher,” Qarni told the Potomac Local. Qarni will oversee policy and support to the state’s K-12 schools and higher education institutions; he will be replacing current Education Secretary Dietra Trent.
Qarni has long been active in local politics. In 2013, he challenged Bob Marshall for the 13th District House of Delegates seat, soon to be held by Danica Roem. Two years later, he ran and lost in a Primary Election against State Senator Jeremy McPike, who went on to win the General Election against Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish.
Qarni also helped to organize a candlelight vigil for 15-year-old Ruben Urbina outside Prince William County Government Center in October. Urbina was shot and killed by Prince William police after police said he wielded a three-foot-long crowbar at them and ignored commands to drop the weapon.