The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is happy to announce Rodney Jordan, Vice Chair of the School Board of the City of Norfolk and President of the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), the recipient of the 2020 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual who, through service as a local school board member, has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to representing the educational needs of urban schoolchildren. Jordan will be presented with the award during the 2020 CUBE Annual Virtual Conference.

“Urban school districts constantly face challenges that threaten student learning, achievement, and access, and those challenges have reached alarming new levels during the coronavirus pandemic,” says NSBA Executive Director and CEO Anna Maria Chávez. “Rodney Jordan exemplifies the dedication of school board members to support and strengthen students, school systems, and their communities in the most difficult of times.”

A board member since 2012, Jordan supported the district’s first equity policy and advocated for the collection and reporting of data to increase transparency in meeting equity goals. He applied his professional experience as a digital inclusion visionary and technology consultant to address the homework gap, initiating programs that provide Norfolk students with enriching technology experiences. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan ensured students had access to literacy programming by filming a daily reading broadcast for his community. He also serves as a board liaison to the Norfolk Council of PTAs and to the Council of Great City Schools.

“Rodney Jordan has been at the forefront of efforts in his community and throughout the state of Virginia to ensure equal access to the high-quality education that every student deserves,” says CUBE Steering Committee Chair Jacinto Ramos, Jr., a trustee for the Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas. “By honoring educational leaders of impact such as Mr. Jordan, CUBE recognizes the enduring legacy of the award’s namesake, Mr. Benjamin Mays, and the civil rights work we must continue today.”

Jordan’s service to students is magnified through his work with the VSBA. Jordan was a founding co-chair of the VSBA Task Force for Students and Schools in Challenging Environments, and through the task force he has shared research and recommendations for eliminating inequities with the state board of education and state department of education. He also represents the association at countless state and national conferences.

“Rodney is an advocate for the students who do not have a voice to let them know that there is someone out there fighting for them every day,” said one nominator.

Outside of his duties as a school board member, Jordan has served on boards representing the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Urban League of Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, and the Hampton Roads Committee of 200+ Men, among many other community organizations. In 2019, he was nominated by Governor Ralph Northam to bring his expertise to the African American History in Education Commission.

As winner of the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, Jordan is included as a feature story in Urban Advocate, CUBE’s quarterly feature in the American School Board Journal (ASBJ).

Learn more about CUBE.

Around NSBA

Six students conduct a science experiment with potatoes and electrodes.

2024 Magna Awards: Silver Award Winners

The 2024 Magna Awards program recognizes 15 exemplary district programs in three enrollment categories as Silver Award winners.