HAMPTON—At a special press/community announcement held on Thursday, June 22, The Virginia Air & Space Science Center Board President L’Allegro Smith had the honor of announcing that Dr. Jeffery Smith has been selected as the next executive director of the center. Jeffery Smith will assume the post on July 1.
“Dr. Smith brings a wealth of experience to this role,” said L’Allegro Smith in a press release. “We provide hands-on STEM experiences that make learning fun and relevant—the perfect combination. Dr. Smith has invigorated a love of learning in Hampton students, and now he can spark that excitement more broadly among all our visitors.”
President Smith also noted Jeffery Smith’s executive management skills and strong ties to the community.
A nationally recognized educator, Jeffery Smith recently retired from his position of superintendent of Hampton City Schools. In 2020, he was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for the national honor. Under his leadership, the Hampton school system saw all schools become fully accredited. In addition, under his guidance, the on-time graduation rate increased from 88 percent to 97.64 percent, and the dropout rate became the lowest in the region.
“I am looking forward to my next career at The Virginia Air & Space Science Center,” said Jeffery Smith. “As the site of the nation’s first Air Force Base and first NASA research center, Hampton has a special connection to advances in flight and space discoveries. The opportunities here are endless.”
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck expressed that the center is a downtown landmark and a key reason that tourists visit Hampton.
“Generations of scientists and mathematicians in Hampton have played major roles in space flight,” said Tuck. “This facility helps inspire the next generation, who will take the next step in exploration.”
The 31-year-old Virginia Air & Space Science Center is the official visitors center for NASA Langley Research Center and features interactive aviation exhibits spanning 100 years of flight, more than 30 historic aircrafts, a hands-on space exploration gallery, and unique space flight artifacts. It is also home to the Apollo 12 Command Module and the Orion PA-1 Test Vehicle.