2024 VALLA Cohort Announced


The Virginia Library Leadership Academy (VALLA) evaluation team received a record-breaking 110 applications for the 2024 cohort. We are excited to announce the following 22 individuals whose applications strongly demonstrated VALLA’s core commitment to equity, accessibility, inclusivity; personal growth; connection building; and individualized leadership. Each of the 22 individuals selected to attend the 2024 cohort stood out as being diverse and primed to continue to develop their leadership skills and embark on their own, personal leadership journey. 


Those accepted to the VALLA 2024 Cohort will begin their individualized leadership journey with a 3-day, in-person, intensive workshop, followed by a year’s worth of leadership topics and mentorship to continue to explore and develop their leadership capacity, at no cost to the participants, thanks to our generous sponsors


The application evaluation process was anonymous, having redacted any personal identifying information, and multiple evaluators scored each application utilizing a predetermined rubric to ensure an objective decision was reached. The 22 chosen applicants represent different types of libraries: Academic (9), Public (12), and School (1), and a variety of backgrounds and lived experiences.


Please join us in congratulating the following individuals on their acceptance into the 2024 VALLA Cohort:


  • Andrea Abernathy, Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Diamond Chavis-Waller, Suffolk Public Library
  • Yinlin Chen, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Tara Drayton, Sussex Central Middle School
  • Jane Gagne, Suffolk Public Library
  • Brea Gilliam, Prince George’s County Public Library
  • Jackson Hoch, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Amanda Jones, Loudoun County Public Library
  • Dana Ladd, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries
  • Shawna McGuffie, Hampton University Libraries
  • Wen Nie Ng, Virginia Tech University Libraries
  • Kristin Noell, Massanutten Regional Library
  • Haley Painter, Bland County Public Library
  • Clenise Platt, Virginia Beach Public Library
  • Elyse Ridder-Roe, University of Mary Washington Libraries
  • Marisa Rodriguez, Fairfax County Public Library
  • Kat Seastead, Prince William Public Library
  • Brittany Smith, George Washington University Libraries
  • Lauren Su, William & Mary Libraries
  • Jennifer Switzer, Mary Baldwin University Libraries
  • Mirna Turcios, Prince William Public Library
  • Aaron Wells, Central Rappahannock Regional Library

Published January 9, 2024