In recognition of Virginia Board of Education President David M. Foster’s contributions to education through public service, the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education Foundation has selected him to receive its 2013 Distinguished Service to the Commonwealth Award.
“David Foster has been a champion of public education,” Robert C. Pianta, dean of the Curry School, said. “He has been tireless in his efforts to communicate with parents, focus on high standards for Virginia's children and promote the highest professional standards for our educators.”
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell appointed Foster to the state Board of Education in 2010, and the board elected him to a two-year term as president in 2012. He has been on a statewide listening tour this year, visiting each of Virginia’s eight educational administrative regions and engaging constituents in discussions about the Board of Education’s work.
Since his appointment, the board has set “annual measurable objectives” for raising students’ reading and mathematics achievement in Virginia’s lowest-performing schools. The objectives replace the Adequate Yearly Progress targets put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act.
The board has also worked to increase the rigor of Virginia’s Standards of Learning in English, mathematics and science to better prepare students to compete in the global economy and meet national and international benchmarks for college and career readiness.
This summer, the board began working to develop a formula for assigning letter grades to rate public schools, as directed by the General Assembly. Most recently, under Foster’s leadership, the board raised the bar on teacher licensure and admissions tests, increasing the minimum acceptable scores on assessments required for entry into teacher-preparation programs and state licensure.
An Arlington native and longtime resident, Foster was elected to the Arlington County School Board in 1999. He was re-elected in 2003 with more than 62 percent of the vote. As the board’s two-term chair, he focused on reducing class sizes and improving school safety. During his tenure, Arlington added classes in the strategically important languages of Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. He also served on the Virginia attorney general’s Internet Safety Task Force, which worked to protect children against online sexual predators and cyberbullies.
Prior to his election to the school board, Foster had worked for many years in Arlington school and civic organizations. A past president of the Arlington County Civic Federation, he has served on the County Council of PTAs and its executive board, the Arlington Community Foundation's Education Fund Advisory Committee, the Arlington Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee and the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Group.
Foster received a Bachelor of Arts with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1975. He received a J.D. from the U.Va. School of Law in 1981. He is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and numerous federal circuit and district courts. He has been a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP since 1990, where he handles antitrust, trade regulation and other litigation matters. He is the co-head of the Washington, D.C., Antitrust and Competition group.
David and his wife Martha Foster, an alumna of the Curry School, have two children who graduated from Virginia colleges.
The Distinguished Service to the Commonwealth Award is given annually to a person who has shown extraordinary dedication to education and has inspired, motivated, contributed or led significant improvements in education.
Foster will receive his award Thursday at a Curry School dinner.