Victoria “Vickie” Oakley knew at a young age that she wanted to become a teacher to help children learn how to read.  Growing up in Alexandria, VA, right outside of Washington D.C., she suffered from dyslexia, a learning di...

Read Article

Spotlight: Larry Marks

          For almost two years, Larry Marks has provided his decades of K-12 expertise to the University Instructors (UI) team.  Introduced to UI’s EdForce staff, he joined the team in October 2017 as a program manager and coaching specialist.  He worked as an instructional coach, providing instructional leadership to many teachers across the state of VA, including four EdForce teachers at Greensville County Public Schools.

          This past school year, Larry spent time working with the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) team in many different dynamics.  For one, he was an EdForce instructional coach, providing leadership, coaching, and support to five EdForce teachers at to two middle schools and three high schools.  He also worked with UI Vice President, Tamu Thomas Walker, and fellow program managers, to assist in supervising the Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI) and Algebra Readiness Initiative (ARI) instructors, by observing their practices and providing feedback.

          Larry was additionally a program manager at Henrico County Public Schools, overseeing seven UI instructors at four middle schools, and in the summers he was the leader of the SOL Retake Summer School Program at Petersburg High School.  The SOL Academy staff showed their appreciation and recognition of Larry with a Redskins mailbox this year as a thank you and farewell gift.



          Working with the UI team has enabled Larry to remain connected with the secondary educational community and implement many uplifting changes.  It also afforded him a chance to work with elementary education administrators, teachers, and staff, a journey he had yet to explore as primarily a secondary administrator.

          “UI provided me with the opportunity to continue to work and stay connected to teaching and learning,” Larry says.

          While observing the students enrolled in UI’s instructional programs experience growth and academic success, he is confident that the tutors and instructional programs will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of students.  He says principals often expressed their appreciation for what the program was doing for students and emphasized the need to begin tutoring services at even an earlier date the following year.

          Working closely with UI staff and tutors assigned to Tile I schools, he observed students using reading strategies that UI tutors taught them.  Seeing these young scholars develop and enhance their math and reading skills, while experiencing success on subsequent SOL and EOC testing, Larry describes as fulfilling.

          “Working with the UI staff was a joy.  The connections and relationships that were built during my tenure with UI, although not familial, are bonds that will last a lifetime.”

          Larry acknowledges that being part of the K-12 education sector is rewarding because he knows making a difference in the lives of young people is essential in their development and preparation.  He notes that it is critical for our society to prepare them for the current and future workforce, so they can depend on their abilities to solve the world’s problems.

          “The key to our young people being successful in school is ensuring they are able to read on grade level, understand mathematics, and provide them with the support they need when they need additional help,” says Larry.  “UI’s preparation and remediation programs assist with this objective and ensure students who have experienced difficulty in reading and math can experience success.” 

          As the new principal at Bonner Middle School, part of Danville Public Schools in VA, he is looking forward to building a culture of collaboration among staff, parents, and community stakeholders, to ensure all Bonner Middle School students are successful and prepared for high school.  

          We’d like to thank Larry for his work with UI and wish him the best of luck this upcoming school year!