(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia)—Phil Giaramita, who joined Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) in 2011 as its first Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer, said he intends to retire from the school division at the end of the calendar year.
Giaramita was the first communications professional to be employed full-time by the school division in a role dedicated uniquely to communications and public affairs. Over the more than 12 succeeding years, he played an instrumental role in shaping the organization’s public image, advancing its mission, and enhancing stakeholder engagement and knowledge of the school division. He wrote the division’s first strategic communications plan and, during his tenure, the division annually averaged as many as 200 separate media interviews describing school division policies, programs, accomplishments, and public participation opportunities.
Under Giaramita’s leadership, the Office of Strategic Communications met its public information responsibilities by expanding its capabilities and adding programs in legislative affairs, community partnerships (before the establishment of the Office of Community Engagement), social media, web services, and video and digital media production. Giaramita also served as the division’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Coordinator and was appointed to the Superintendent’s Cabinet in 2018.
“Phil Giaramita took our division’s communications to a level of professionalism and effectiveness that it had not approached prior to his tenure here. He has been a trusted advisor to many and has helped build a significant and lasting profile for our school division in this community. He has been a professional role model for me and all of our colleagues. I will miss him greatly,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Matthew Haas.
“Phil’s contributions were foundational for maintaining an informed public amidst a changing landscape for public education,” said Dr. Helen Dunn, the division’s Deputy Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer. “Phil’s retirement gives me no pleasure. I will miss him every day, as he is one of the most respected, knowledgeable and delightful people I’ve ever had the good fortune of talking to and spending time with in the workplace,” Dunn added.
Prior to joining ACPS, Giaramita was the vice president for corporate communications for two FORTUNE 50 companies, Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) and International Paper. He also served as the global director of media relations for United Technologies’ largest operating business, Pratt & Whitney. While at the first two corporations, he also was the president of their corporate foundations.
In retirement, Giaramita said he will focus on his role as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, where for nearly 20 years, he has worked with local city and county social services departments and the court in supporting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. He also will return to another passion: coaching youth baseball, this time not for his son, but his grandson.
“As a CASA volunteer, it occurred to me when I joined the school division that this was yet another opportunity to change the lives of children. Through the efforts of so many talented and caring professionals throughout the division, I saw that happen, and my life changed as well,” Giaramita said. “It has been a privilege to be associated with so many talented and dedicated professionals in our school division and in our community. I am deeply grateful for their partnership, their guidance, and for showing me, every day, what passionate commitment means in real life,” Giaramita added.
The school division will conduct a national search for Giaramita’s successor.
Pictured: Phil Giaramita
CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Deputy Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer