Whitney Oakley

Superintendent of Guilford County Schools in North Carolina

Dr. Whitney Oakley is the fifth superintendent of Guilford County Schools (GCS), serving more than 68,000 PK-12 students and 10,000 employees at 126 schools. As the district’s first homegrown superintendent, Oakley is a long-time educator and school administrator with a proven track record of improving student learning outcomes.

Raised in Greensboro, N.C., Oakley attended GCS from kindergarten to high school. She began her career as a teacher at Frazier Elementary in GCS before serving as an assistant principal and principal in the Alamance-Burlington School System. Oakley returned to GCS in 2012 and served the district in multiple leadership roles, including executive director of elementary curriculum, assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and professional development, chief academic officer and deputy superintendent.

In her roles as deputy superintendent and chief academic officer, Oakley developed the district’s instructional framework and standardized high-quality curriculum across elementary, middle and high schools to ensure equitable access to on-grade level content; led job-embedded professional learning initiatives for teachers; and implemented instructional programming and professional learning programs focused on English learners and exceptional children. She also spearheaded a 164-member task force in developing an award-winning school re-entry plan following COVID-19 school closures.

After being appointed superintendent in the fall of 2022, Oakley launched a series of community conversations to inform Better Together, the district’s new strategic direction with a singular focus to make GCS the best place to learn, work and grow. Better Together is the culmination of more than 200 community conversations and was shaped with the input of 8,000 stakeholders during phases one and two.

During her first year as superintendent, Dr. Oakley expanded the district’s nationally recognized learning recovery efforts, including high-dosage tutoring and learning hubs. In the 2022-2023 school year, GCS provided nearly 300,000 high-dosage tutoring sessions to 11,461 students, doubling the number of students served from the prior year. The district also deployed twelve new school safety strategies; secured a $14.8 million grant to expand on-demand mental health services to all schools; and launched nine new school construction projects along with a $48 million allocation for deferred maintenance, technology and school safety projects as part of a voter-approved $2 billion school bond program.

Throughout her career, Oakley has received several recognitions and awards for her extraordinary vision and leadership, including The Triad Business Journal 40 Leaders Under 40 Award, Wachovia Piedmont-Triad/Central Region’s Principal of the Year award in 2010, the Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding visual and performing arts programming in 2020 and The Triad Business Journal Women in Business Award in 2023.

Oakley holds a Bachelor of Science in special education from East Carolina University, a Master of Education in elementary education from Greensboro College, a Specialist in Education and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). She lives in Guilford County with her husband and two children, both currently enrolled in GCS.