Former Virginia Secretary of Education Fran Bradford Joins McGuireWoods Consulting

January 18, 2022

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Fran Bradford, former Virginia secretary of education, joined McGuireWoods Consulting as a senior vice president on the firm’s Virginia government relations team and national education practice.

Former Secretary Bradford spent three decades in public sector service prior to joining McGuireWoods Consulting, including government affairs roles at William & Mary and the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV).

“Fran’s public sector service adds depth to our already strong Virginia team and national education practice, and her passion for legislative advocacy will benefit our clients in ways that further differentiate our 50-state reach,” said McGuireWoods Consulting president Gov. Jim Hodges.

Secretary Bradford served in the education secretariat for Gov. Ralph Northam’s 2018 – 2021 administration, first as deputy secretary and then as secretary of education. During this time, she helped shape and implement education policy from pre-kindergarten through higher education, providing support and direction to the state’s public colleges and universities, SCHEV, the Virginia Community College System, the Department of Education, as well as state museums and career education centers. In 2003-2018, she served first as director and then as the associate vice president for government relations at William & Mary, where she was responsible for all areas of the university’s state and federal government relations. She also previously served as acting director of communications and government relations at SCHEV, the Commonwealth’s higher education coordinating agency.

During her tenure with Gov. Northam’s administration, Secretary Bradford helped to shape and pass legislation that created G3, Virginia’s free community college program for qualified students, and budgets that made historic investments in need-based financial aid for higher education and in Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She also played a key role in the implementation of Virginia’s Tech Talent Initiative, through which state higher education institutions have committed to the state’s effort to strengthen the computer science talent pipeline.

“Fran is a well-respected problem solver and consensus builder, and we look forward to her joining our team” said McGuireWoods Consulting Chairman Mark Bowles. “Our firm has been a leader in education policy for a number of years. The knowledge and insights that Fran has gained at William & Mary and in Gov. Northam’s administration will complement our already strong Virginia team and national education practice.”

Secretary Bradford serves on the Executive Board of the Virginia Network, an organization that promotes women’s leadership in higher education, and the Education Commission for the States.  She also serves on the Board of the Science Museum of Virginia. She previously served as the chair of the taskforce for the National Higher Education Government Relations Conference.

“It has been an honor to serve the Commonwealth in a variety of capacities, and I look forward to continuing to work with Virginia’s top ranked education system through my new role at McGuireWoods Consulting,” said Secretary Bradford. “Virginia is widely recognized as a national leader in higher education policy. Collaborating with clients across the country to advance effective state-level education policy will be a natural extension of the work that I have done thus far in my career.”

McGuireWoods Consulting’s national education practice serves a full spectrum of public and private entities across the educational continuum from early childhood to postsecondary education and has a depth of policy experience especially in dynamic areas such as virtual and charter schools, higher education and business collaboration, educational technology and knowledge-based economic development.