Since January 2018, Pamela Northam has used her experience as a former pediatric occupational therapist and science educator to lead the Northam administration’s work to increase access to quality early childhood care and education. Since the beginning of the administration, over $98 million in new state, federal, and local funds have been invested in Virginia’s early education system, including $42.9 million in innovative federal preschool development grants overseen by the First Lady’s office. Mrs. Northam’s primary goal is to improve school readiness statewide so that Virginia children are ready for success in school and beyond.
Previously, the First Lady served as community outreach coordinator for the environmental nonprofit Lynnhaven River NOW (LRN), where she oversaw advocacy and outreach programs for homeowners, congregations, and businesses to help them to become more sustainable. Prior to joining LRN, Mrs. Northam taught high school biology. Recognizing a need for STEM in elementary education, she became a national award-winning science specialist and worked to develop an inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum for students in grades K through 5.
Mrs. Northam is the chair of both the Virginia Children’s Cabinet and the Virginia STEM Education Commission, and is a board member of the innovative E3 School in Norfolk. After studying at Baylor University and the University of Texas, the First Lady specialized in pediatric occupational therapy, where her work included rehabilitation hospitals, teaching hospitals, and special education. The Northams have two adult children: Wes, a neurosurgery resident; and Aubrey, a web developer.