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Gail Cunningham Pittman (1973 Early Childhood Education and 1977 MS in Early Childhood Education)

  • 1993-1996 – Kindergarten teacher, Rockbridge County, VA
  • 1996-1984 – Kindergarten, second, and third grade teacher, Harrisonburg City, VA
  • 1984-1987 – UniServ Director for North Carolina Association of Educators
  • 1987-2017 – UniServ Director for Virginia Education Association

From the day I opened the first kindergarten at Highland Belle Elementary outside of Lexington, VA until the day I retired as a UniServ Director for the VEA working in the Portsmouth office, my goal and interest was in improving educational opportunities for children. When I added the goal of improving the working conditions of school employees, I became, first as teacher leader and later as an employee of state education associations, an advocate for public education in the larger sense. I taught throughout, whether it was young children, school employees searching for better leadership skills, or legislators who held all of these citizens’ educational opportunities in their financial control.

I am an amateur singer. I sang in both the Madison Chorale and Chorus while at Madison. Wherever I lived I’ve sung in some community chorus and always in a church choir. Currently I sing with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus. An auditioned chorus, we’ve sung at the Kennedy Center, at the Breckinridge (CO) Summer Music Festival, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, with the 1,600 voice chorus for the 400th Jamestown Anniversary choir, and annually with the Virginia Arts Festival International Tattoo.

I am an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Portsmouth and serve as a Sunday School teacher, choir member and ordained Elder. I also work in the larger church through the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia. I am a member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club and currently serve on the Board of Directors.

I am married to Samuel (Lane) Pittman who was head of Labor Relations at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

I am pleased to serve on the Executive Advisory Committee of the College of Education because I know that James Madison prepares the best entry level education professionals who have chosen to teach. I’ve worked with them throughout my career and know their proficiency. JMU prepared me well to teach. It also provided me with the foundation to expand and grow into an advocate for Virginia’s public schools. I hope to have some small influence in continuing to improve opportunities for children and the people dedicated to their education.

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