Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Appoints Frances Bradford as Secretary of Education

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today appointed Fran Bradford as Secretary of Education. Secretary Bradford begins the role as former Secretary Atif Qarni accepts a position as Managing Director at Temple University's Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia.

“Secretary Bradford has done tremendous work for Virginia's higher education system, and I know she will continue to serve the Commonwealth well as our new Secretary of Education. I look forward to continuing to work with her on behalf of students, families, and teachers across Virginia,” said Governor Northam

Fran Bradford has spent the past thirty years championing Virginia higher education through the state and federal legislative and policy processes. She previously served as Deputy Secretary of Education for Governor Northam. She was at the College of William & Mary for fourteen years, most recently serving as the Associate Vice President for Government Relations. Before arriving at William & Mary, Fran served in several communications and government relations roles at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia from 1990-2003.  In the fall of 2005, she was called on to fill the position of Deputy Secretary of Education during the remaining months of Governor Mark Warner's term. 

Atif Qarni, the outgoing Secretary of Education, is taking a new role as Managing Director at Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Since Secretary Qarni was appointed in 2017, his team has worked with Governor Northam to secure historic investments in education, establish tuition-free community college, and raise teacher pay by 10 percent. 

“Former Secretary Qarni has served Virginia’s students well, and I am proud of the work we have done together to support public education and raise teacher pay,” said Governor Northam. “I wish him the best of luck in his new role.”

Governor Northam's cabinet was the first in Virginia history to be majority-women. With Secretary Bradford's appointment, women now hold over 2/3rds of all cabinet-level positions.

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