Chesterfield Teacher of the Year

John Gordon (right), Chesterfield County Public Schools' chief of schools, was on hand May 8, 2019, when Bon Air Elementary fifth-grade teacher Beth Nathanson (center) was named Chesterfield Teacher of the Year at the school. From left: Chesterfield schools chief of staff Thomas Taylor; Superintendent Mervin Daugherty; Richmond police Sgt. Jon Nathanson, who is the teacher's husband; Beth Nathanson; Bon Air Elementary School Principal Heather Gentry; Midlothian District School Board member Javaid Siddiqi; and Gordon.

A top Chesterfield County Public Schools official is leaving the school system to run one in Hampton Roads.

John B. Gordon III was hired Thursday as the new superintendent for Suffolk Public Schools. Gordon has served as Chesterfield’s chief of schools since 2017. He replaces Deran Whitney, who had led the Suffolk school system since 2010.

“I am extremely honored to be selected as the next superintendent of Suffolk Public Schools,” Gordon said in a statement. “Suffolk Public Schools is an excellent school division that works very hard to support all students and help them reach their goals.”

The Suffolk school system is less than one-fourth the size of Chesterfield’s, enrolling 14,265 compared with Chesterfield’s 61,608.

Its on-time graduation rate of 87% is below the statewide average of 92%, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education.

Gordon started in education in 1995 as a substitute teacher and basketball coach on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He eventually became a fifth-grade teacher in Salisbury, Md., and a high school history teacher in Richmond and Chesterfield. Gordon was a basketball coach at Armstrong and Meadowbrook high schools.

In 2005, he moved into administration as the dean of students at Meadowbrook and in 2007-08 became the assistant principal there. Gordon became the principal of James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg in 2009, a role he served in until 2014.

He was the director of administrative services for Fredericksburg City Public Schools from 2014 to 2017 before being hired in Chesterfield as the chief of schools. Now, he’ll leave the county to become a first-time superintendent.

“We welcome Dr. Gordon to Suffolk Public Schools and we are excited for the great things that will come under his leadership for the future of the school division and the broader community,” said Phyllis Byrum, the chairwoman of the Suffolk School Board, in a statement.

Gordon is an alumnus of the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.

He is scheduled to start in the new role on Oct. 14.

Receive daily news emails sent directly to your email inbox

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

(804) 649-6012

Twitter: @jmattingly306

Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.