Dec. 8, 2021 — City Council honored 2 department heads retiring after long careers with Hampton. Together, they represent 89 years of service to the residents of Hampton.
Wanda Rogers has working in Hampton’s social services department since 1976, becoming the department director in 2008. In her various roles, she initiated a series of improvements. Hampton’s department is an expansion of traditional social services in that it adds nationally recognized prevention and education programs in Healthy Families. Rogers also initiated procedures for “wraparound care” by shifting the focus from programs and eligibility to the needs of each individual family. She was honored by then-Gov. Tim Kaine for re-engineering Hampton’s foster care system, which has been a model for the state. She has been a champion for families, children, homeless people, and senior citizens through her work with the Community Services Board, regional homelessness initiative, Senior Citizens Advisory Board, and working with the justice system on specialized court programs.
Valerie Gardner, library director, began working as a library assistant in Hampton in 1977, even before she earned her bachelor’s degree. She moved up through the ranks, earning her master’s degree and becoming a Certified Professional Librarian, and was named head of the department almost 10 years ago. She has been a champion for literacy, summer reading programs for children, and increasing access to and understanding of technology. Gardner was adamant that libraries are a vital gathering place, and programs and services must remain free and varied. Under her leadership, the library staff created innovative ways to keep citizens connected to library materials via curbside services and curated services during the Covid shutdown.
Both are retiring at the end of the year.
Pictured: City Council honors Valerie Harper, library director, at left, and Wanda Rogers, director of Human Services, on Dec. 8, 2021, in City Hall.