Secretary of Education
Laura W. Fornash was appointed Secretary of Education by Governor Bob McDonnell on August 23, 2011. As a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Secretary assists the Governor in the development and implementation of the state’s education policy. In addition, Secretary Fornash provides guidance to the 16 public universities, the Virginia Community College System, five higher education and research center, the Department of Education and the state-supported museums. Prior to this appointment, she served as Deputy Secretary of Education and as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation, and Investment.
Before joining the McDonnell administration, Mrs. Fornash spent 20 years with Virginia Tech in a number of different divisions including student affairs, continuing education, distance learning, and government relations. She most recently served as the Director of State Government Relations for the University. She was the school's Restructuring Project Director with the responsibility of managing Virginia Tech's implementation of the 2005 Restructuring Act that created new levels of operational autonomy for all public higher education institutions in exchange for meeting certain academic performance measures. She was Director of the Virginia Tech Richmond Center, an extended campus center, where credit and noncredit programs were offered to working professionals.
In 1998, as the Director of Information Technology Programs, Mrs. Fornash launched an innovative web based interdisciplinary masters degree program to help transition professionals into the information technology field as result of research conducted for the International Technology Association of America.
Mrs. Fornash received her undergraduate and masters degree from Virginia Tech. She is a native of Chesterfield, Virginia and is a graduate of Virginia public schools. She is married and has 3 children.