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Sustainability Leadership: A Road Map for Driving Innovation Through the Triple Bottom Line

March 30 @ 9:00 am - March 31 @ 12:00 pm EDT

Join Green Schools National Network and 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Award recipient Virginia Beach City Public Schools for a 1.5 day exploration of Sustainability Leadership: A Road Map for Driving Innovation Through the Triple Bottom Line. This site seminar is designed for Executive Level and Building Level leaders who are interested in learning how sustainability can help their districts reduce expenses while decreasing their ecological footprints; improve the health and well-being of those who work, learn, and play in their schools; and prepare students for college and careers in a future that will require new ways of thinking and learning. The site seminar will highlight how sustainability leaders, informed by Harvard University’s Executive Education in Sustainability Leadership program, have developed purpose-driven ideas to drive innovation in organizational culture, operations and management, and teaching and learning.


Old Donation School

4633 Honeygrove Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23455

March 30, 2020 | 9:00am – 3:00pm with an evening event at the Brock Center

March 31, 2020 | 9:00am – 12:00pm


Catalyst Members: $100.00

GSNN Members: $200.00

Non Members: $250.00


Norfolk International Airport (ORF) is approximately 17 minutes northwest of Old Donation School. Travel to and from the airport is best via the rental car company of your choice.


The following hotels are within a ten minute drive of Old Donation School.

Hyatt Place Virginia Beach Town Center
335 Independence Blvd.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462 

Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Town Center
252 Town Center Dr.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center
4535 Commerce St.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462


Dress code for the entirety of the site seminar is business casual.

March 30

9:00 Coffee and Chatter Gallery
9:30 Opening Welcoming remarks by Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence and Old Donation School (ODS) Principal Dr. Kelly Hedrick.
10:15 Campus Tour Orient yourself with the site seminar’s surroundings as ODS Student Ambassadors provide guided tours of the campus. ODS houses VBCPS’ grades 2 – 8 gifted program and is the ninth LEED building to be completed within VBCPS. The facility is also indicative of how the learning environment is evolving in VBCPS. While features like rainwater collection to flush toilets, stormwater management techniques to manage ten-year storm events, and daylight harvesting aren’t unique for new schools these days, the ability to seamlessly integrate Triple Bottom Line concepts associated with the building’s design is. Click here for a Drone video of ODS.
11:15 Sustainability Leadership Model

It’s been an eighteen-year journey for VBCPS to get to where we are today. What began as an initiative to build more sustainable buildings has expanded beyond the physical environment to encompass how VBCPS functions as an organization.

Our cultural shift happened three years ago when Leith Sharp, Director of Executive Education for Sustainability at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment; Jennifer Seydel, Executive Director at Green Schools National Network; and Rachel Gutter, then Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, helped organize and conduct an executive leadership summit at VBCPS. Approximately fifty attendees participated in this 1.5 day event, including Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence, the VBCPS Executive Leadership Team, and all VBCPS Department Directors.

The goal of this session is to summarize the process that has evolved over the last eighteen years, including recent initiatives that resulted from the executive leadership summit, and discuss future goals and action items.

Dr. Aaron Spence, VBCPS Superintendent
Jack Freeman, Chief Operations Officer
Tim Cole, Sustainability Officer

Lunch Scratch Cooking

Like many school districts across the country, VBCPS spent the last thirty years removing key pieces of kitchen equipment that were traditionally used for scratch cooking and shifted focus to heat-and-serve operations. This countrywide shift came with a price: we are disconnected from the food that we eat, and child obesity rates continue to rise.

In addition, while the number of students purchasing meals in the cafeteria decreased, absenteeism rates among cafeteria staff increased. Many cafeteria staff felt as though they were not fully valued or appreciated by students, staff, and parents.

This session will illustrate VBCPS’ journey back to scratch cooking and the innovative measures implemented by the Office of Food Services.

Kip Poole, VBCPS Chef
Dr. Marc Bergin, Chief of Staff

1:15 Transportation Transformation

While buildings are the largest greenhouse gas emitters at VBCPS (55,473 metric tons of CO2 in 2016), transportation emissions are the next largest contributor: 14,933 metric tons of CO2 were produced in 2016 by the yellow and white fleets combined.

This session will describe the measures VBCPS took to achieve a 50% reduction in fuel consumption by fleet vehicles by 2050, as outlined in the VBCPS 2019 Emissions Reduction Plan and Report.

David Pace, Executive Director, Office of Transportation Services
Tim Cole, Sustainability Officer


Building Infrastructure



School districts are typically the largest public land owners within their communities. VBCPS manages over eleven million square feet of building space and occupies over 1,800 acres of land. This includes two million square feet of LEED buildings. How to manage these assets efficiently is an issue that all school districts grapple with.

This session will address how VBCPS has retooled the maintenance and operations of its assets by transforming the model that’s been in use for over half a century.

Eric Woodhouse, Director, Office of Facility Services
Tony Arnold, Executive Director, Facility Services

3:00 Closing / Q & A
5:00 An Evening at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Brock Environmental Center

Join us at the Brock Environmental Center for an evening of light coastal fare and drinks, sponsored by Noresco.

You will have the opportunity to mingle with other attendees in one of only 13 Living Building Challenge certified buildings in the world. This facility is located on a beautiful site adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay and is the future home of the VBCPS Environmental Studies Program, which will open in Fall 2020.


March 31

9:00 Opening Breakfast
10:00 Concurrent Sessions – Self Select

Participants can select from the following session topics:

1. Teaching and Learning (School): Creating a culture of innovation in the classroom (ODS: project-based learning; transdisciplinary teams; schedules; proficiency-based grading)

2. Teaching and Learning (District): VBCPS initiatives that support education for sustainability and 22nd century learning (RISE Project; Environmental Studies Classroom)

3. Role of Support Services in Advancing a Sustainability Vision and Mission (policy; standards; AOS-CCOS in action; purchasing; engaging students in the design and engineering of new buildings)

4. Community Engagement and Partnerships (Pearl Awards; articulation agreements; other structures/supports for deep on-going partnerships)

11:00 Panel / Q&A / Closing

Students, teachers, and school leaders discuss meaningful and purposeful work related to sustainability and transforming education. Q&A with panelists will follow.

Closing remarks by VBCPS Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.

Noon End


March 30 @ 9:00 am
March 31 @ 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Green Schools National Network
Virginia Beach City Public Schools


Old Donation School
4633 Honeygrove Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23455 United States
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