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Dietra Y. Trent, Interim Vice President for Compliance, Diversity & Ethics, George Mason University


Dietra Y. Trent currently serves as Interim Vice President for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics at George Mason University.  In this capacity, she leads the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to advance a culture of anti-racism and inclusive excellence.  She first joined the University in August 2019 as Interim Chief of Staff to then Interim President, Anne Holton.  

In July 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed her Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Previously, she served as Deputy Secretary of Education, a position she also held during the Administration of then-Governor Tim Kaine.      

As Secretary of Education, Dr. Trent’s primary responsibility was to promote the Governor’s agenda to eradicate the Achievement Gap, promote great teaching and learning, and help strengthen educational pathways to the new Virginia Economy.  As Secretary, she provided guidance to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), as well as Virginia’s 16 public colleges and universities, 23 community colleges and five higher education and research centers. They also provide support to seven state-funded arts/cultural institutions.

Prior to joining the McAuliffe Administration, Dr. Trent served as Deputy State Director for Senator Mark Warner.  Having served in former Governor’s Tim Kaine and Mark Warner’s offices, as well as the Office of Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, she has a wealth of federal, state and higher education experience.  

During her time in Governor Warner’s office, Dr. Trent’s proudest moment was establishing and obtaining state funding for the Minority Political Leadership Institute (MPLI), housed at Virginia Commonwealth University.  MPLI is a six-week intensive program designed to promote leadership for aspiring individuals interested in running for elected office or assuming leadership roles in minority communities. She currently serves on the MPLI advisory board. 

Dr. Trent is perhaps best known for her political acumen.  In 2012, she served as Senior Consultant to President Obama’s reelection campaign.  In 2008, she also served as Senior Consultant to the Dwight Jones for Mayor Campaign, in Richmond, Virginia.  Mayor Jones was elected in a four-way race with nearly 40% of the vote.  Additionally, Dr. Trent served as Deputy Campaign Director for the Warner for Governor and Political Director for the Kaine for Governor campaigns.   

A native of Halifax County, Virginia, Dr. Trent earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Hampton University, and completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in Public Administration and Policy from Virginia Commonwealth University.     

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