Our Program



Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School is an Academic Year Governor’s School sponsored by Virginia Department of Education.  In addition to state funding, three local school divisions, Augusta County Schools, Staunton, and Waynesboro support the school’s program in Arts and Humanities and Sciences.

SVGS has programs and courses designed to meet the unique needs of gifted and highly motivated students. Students may attend in one of two broad curriculum areas: the Arts and Humanities Program or the Sciences program.  The Arts and Humanities program features three curriculum options: humanities, fine arts, or performing arts.  Our Science program features course selections in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.

High school juniors and seniors attend this half day selective regional program. Our facility, housed in the Valley Career and Technical Center, supports the curriculum with its open and flexible design.  Student work is facilitated and enhanced by available technology and equipment available throughout. Work areas of varying size are provided to promote group and individual activities in informal settings.  Students in the arts regularly work off-site in professional performance and exhibition spaces.

Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School works to 1)provide a comprehensive, intellectually challenging program for advanced learners that extends and enriches their education; 2)  provide appropriate opportunities for intellectual and personal growth and 3) facilitate partnerships between the school and parents, community members, colleges and businesses that expand students’ knowledge of and interest in science and technology, the humanities, and the arts.

The Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School provides leadership in innovative instructional practices and effective service to students and teachers in all grade levels.  The school presents a unique educational environment in which individuals explore the interconnections between and enhance their experiences in science, mathematics, the arts, humanities and technology.  SVGS provides students with the knowledge, skills, discipline and attitudes necessary for further advanced study at institutions of higher education and successful careers.



The mission is to provide a supportive and challenging environment for area gifted students to nurture and develop their talents, expand their knowledge and improve their critical thinking skills while fostering their sense of personal and social responsibility.

Persistence 004Fiscal Agent

Augusta County Public Schools

Divisions Served 

Augusta County Public Schools
Staunton City Public Schools
Waynesboro City Public Schools

Service Area

Augusta County, which geographically includes the two cities, is the second largest county in Virginia.  It is primarily rural with agriculture as its economic base.  However, because it is located at the intersection of two Interstates (I-64, which carries traffic east west, and I-81, a major north-south corridor), the industrial base and, consequently, the population is increasing.  Total population for the area is just over 100,000.  The school divisions’ combined student enrollment is approximately 20,000.




Student Information  

233 high school juniors and seniors during the 2019-2020 year.

142 from Augusta County
44 from Staunton City
44 from Waynesboro City

Brief History:

SVGS opened its doors in the fall of 1993 to 95 students with a staff of five (5) full-time and one half-time teachers, a director and a secretary.  Class selection was limited to one science, two levels of math, and one level of technology.  By 1996, staff had been increased to seven (7) full-time teachers, plus part-time teaching by the Director, and offered 14 courses to and supported various independent study projects of 118 students.

In 2002, SVGS expanded its mission to include visual arts, theatre arts and humanities courses. Three full-time instructors joined the faculty. Student enrollments increased to 147. In 2003, ten students were added to the Math-Science and 25 to the Arts programs. In 2008, Math-Science and Arts-Humanities programs included 134 and 44 students, respectively.

In addition to the high school program, SVGS serves the advanced learner population of 4th-8th grade students each year in our participating divisions.

Relationship with Area Schools

The purpose of SVGS is to provide an integrated math, science and technology program and an integrated arts and humanities program in a unique learning environment particularly suited to the needs of gifted learners and is not available in the local schools.   SVGS further distinguishes its programs from most area schools through extensive teamwork among faculty members to plan common activities that support concepts and skills being developed in all classes.

SVGS works with local TAG/GT coordinators in the schools to develop custom outreach programs that address the particular interests and needs of their students.


SVGS is administered by a Director, Lee Ann Whitesell. The office is managed by the School Secretary, Debbie Conner. Teachers assist with some administrative and managerial tasks through a committee system.

Board and Committees     

SVGS is guided by a Board, a Committee of Superintendents, and an Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Augusta County School Board.  These three groups meet concurrently a minimum of four (4) times per year. The three school board members are the voting members of the Board. The Augusta County School Board has administrative oversight of SVGS.

Board membership for 2017-2018 is:

Division Board member Superintendent Advisory Committee
Augusta County Ms. Donna Wells Dr. Eric Bond Ms. Tina Kiracofe,Director of Instruction
Staunton City Mr. Ron Ramsey Dr. Garett Smith Ms. Linda Mahler
Waynesboro City Mr. Rick Wheeler Dr. Jeffrey Cassell Ms. Sue Wright, Director of Instruction

Voting Members of the board

Voting members are the three school board member representatives:

Augusta County: Ms. Donna Wells

Staunton City: Mr. Ron Ramsey

Waynesboro City:  Mr. Rick Wheeler


Board Meetings

The Board meets a minimum of four (4) times per year.

Accredations and Memberships

Virginia Department of Education

The Academic-Year Governor’s Schools are established as “joint schools” by Virginia school law. As such, they are typically managed by a regional governing board of representatives from the school boards of each participating division. The regional governing board is charged with developing policies for the school including the school’s admissions process.

The Virginia Department of Education oversees and evaluates the Academic-Year Governor’s Schools. Each school is evaluated through the use of evaluation rubrics designed to determine the effectiveness in curriculum, professional development, program design, guidance and counseling, identification and selection process, and facilities. A full-site evaluation team visits each school every six years.  Mid-term progress report on implementation of recommendations are submitted to the Department of Education in the third year of the six year period.

National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology

The goal of the Consortium is to foster, support, and advance the efforts of those specialized schools whose primary purpose is to attract and academically prepare students for leadership in mathematics, science, and technology. The NCSSSMST was established in 1988 to provide a forum for schools to exchange information and program ideas and to evolve alliances between them.

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