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James E. Laws, Jr. Ward 4
Dr. James E. Laws, Jr. is the Chief of Staff for Higher Education Programs in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the staff at the Department of Education, he was Director of Teacher Education at Virginia State University. He previously worked at the Virginia Department of Education where he served as the Executive to the Virginia Board of Education.
Dr. Laws has a rich background in education. This includes teaching in the Richmond, Virginia City Public Schools and later serving as a member of the Richmond School Board.
In addition to his career in education, Dr. Laws also has a background in the performing arts. He has performed as a soloist with the Richmond Symphony’s In Harmony Series and with the Alleghany Highlands Symphony. His other solo performances with the Richmond Symphony include the Toreado Song from Carmen, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, several spirituals, and the narrator for Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.
On September 11, 2011, he was featured in concert commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on America. The guest artist on the program with him was international opera star, Denyce Graves.
Dr. Laws performed a recital of Christmas music in the East Room of the White House for the White House staff as a part of the White House Christmas Music Series in 1999. He was the guest of the Ambassador to the European Union, the Honorable Richard Morningstar, and performed a recital of Negro Spirituals at the Ambassador’s residence in Brussels, Belgium to kick off the Arts in Embassies Series. While in Belgium, he also performed a recital for the Women’s International Club.
He studied ballet at the School of the Richmond Ballet. He danced with the Richmond Ballet for two years in productions including: Prince Igor, Giselle, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake. He danced under the direction of multiple nationally and internationally recognized choreographers including the legendary Agnes DeMille when the company performed Ms. DeMille’s ballet, Inconsequentials.
Dr. Laws is a native of Covington, Virginia. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree with a minor in music and a Masters in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has a Doctorate Degree in Higher Education Administration from The College of William Mary.