L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


Doctoral students

Grady Hart

Master's in Public Administration, Bachelor's in International Affairs and Political Science, James Madison University

Grady Hart, an RVA native, comes to the Wilder School with a decade of post-graduate work experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, Grady served for five years as the Head of Community Partnerships for Richmond Public Schools, where he led a diverse team in facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships between RPS and the Richmond community. He was responsible for a number of key initiatives at RPS, including:

  • The coordination of thousands of community partners and volunteers to ensure that students and families had equitable access to food and other essentials throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; 
  • The creation of Monumental Conversations, a student and community led Augmented Reality experience sharing stories of Black resistance and resilience in Richmond; and
  • Spearheading a two-year national fellowship through the Flamboyan Foundation to empower RPS students and families to advocate at both the school level and system-wide level for their children. 

Prior to his time at RPS, Grady studied International Affairs and Political Science at James Madison University, where he later earned his Masters in Public Administration. He then served as Program Coordinator for VCU ASPiRE under VCU’s Division of Community Engagement while completing his MBA at VCU, and continued serving as an Adjunct Faculty member in the Honors College for several years.

A lifelong-learner, Grady firmly believes that we learn best through real-world experience, and that listening to and empathizing with people from diverse backgrounds is absolutely essential to understanding the world around us. As such, his research interests include community engagement and design thinking, and he is especially interested in applying these methods to transportation and housing policy. He is also keeping an eye on Artificial Intelligence, and the impact it will have on Urban and Regional Policy in both professional and academic settings.

In his spare time, Grady travels frequently and can usually be found outdoors. He is also an active member of the Richmond community, and serves as President of his neighborhood's Civic Association and also helps to lead a network of Richmond Civic Associations. An avid biker, one of his passions is advocating for improved cycling infrastructure in the Richmond region.