About Us

Atif Qarni, Secretary of Education

Prior to his appointment as Governor Northam’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni taught at Beville Middle School in Prince William County, leading courses in civics, economics, U.S History, and mathematics. He has been a member of the Virginia Education Association since 2008, having previously served as a GED Night School Instructor. In 2016, Atif was recognized as the Dale City Teacher of the Year.

In addition to his work as an educator, Atif is a former Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps, Reserves and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 on Active Duty Assignment during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served at the state level, having been appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Small Business Commission in 2013.

Secretary Qarni holds a Bachelor’s in Sociology from George Washington Universityas well as a Master’s in History and teaching license from George Mason University.

Frances C. Bradford, Deputy Secretary of Education

Fran Bradford has spent the past twenty-seven years championing Virginia higher education through the state and federal legislative and policy processes. She currently serves Deputy Secretary of Education for Governor Northam. Prior to this role, she was at the College of William & Mary for fourteen years, most recently serving as the Associate Vice President for Government Relations. Before arriving at William & Mary, Fran served in several communications and government relations roles at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) from 1990-2003.  In the fall of 2005, she was called on to fill the position of Deputy Secretary of Education during the remaining months of Governor Mark Warner's term. 

Ms. Bradford also serves on the Executive Board of the Virginia Network, an organization that promotes women's leadership in higher education. She previously served as the Chair of the taskforce for the National Higher Education Government Relations Conference (Sponsored by CASE, AASCU, and APLU).

Ms. Bradford earned a Bachelor of Arts from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and she holds a Masters of Public Administration from Virginia Tech. She also holds a certificate of completion from Virginia's Commonwealth Management Institute. A native Virginian, she resides with her family in Richmond.

Holly Coy, Deputy Secretary of Education

Holly Coy serves as Deputy Secretary of Education for Governor Northam, a role she also served in under Governor McAuliffe. Before joining the office of the Secretary of Education, Holly served as Policy Director for then Lt. Governor Northam. Before that, she was the Director of Programs at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy; and worked in the Governmental Affairs Office of the American Bar Association in a number of capacities.

Ms. Coy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University in Virginia and her master’s degree from American University’s School of Public Affairs. She is a graduate of the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership and Georgetown University’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program. 

Chidimma Uche, Special Assistant to Secretary Atif Qarni

Chidi Uche has joined the administration as Special Assistant to Secretary Atif Qarni. Previously, she taught in inner-city and suburban classrooms in Arlington Public Schools and DC Public School. While there she collaborated with education stakeholders in Virginia, around the country, and abroad on topics of diversity and inclusion, digital tools and technology, and social and emotional learning. Chidi, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Language & Literature and a Masters of Teaching from The University of Virginia.