Meet Our New Executive Director

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Virginia Knowlton Marcus
Virginia Knowlton Marcus

The Board of Directors for Disability Rights North Carolina is pleased to announce the appointment of Virginia Knowlton Marcus as the organization’s next executive director. She will replace Vicki Smith, who is retiring as executive director at the end of September.

“Virginia brings a strong background in disability rights,” Disability Rights NC board chairperson D Jones said. “She is deeply dedicated to disability rights and highly experienced in the work of P&A agencies like ours. She recognizes and values Disability Rights NC’s stellar history and the impressive skill and experience of our dedicated staff.”

“I am excited to join the Disability Rights NC team,” said Marcus. “I want to learn as much as I can about the current landscape for people with disabilities in the state and what our clients need and want most from Disability Rights NC. I want to gain a full understanding our best opportunities and biggest challenges.”

Virginia Knowlton Marcus is a nationally recognized disability rights attorney who has been advocating for disability rights at the state, federal, and international levels for nearly 25 years. Virginia comes to North Carolina from Disability Rights California (DRC), where she served as the director of legal advocacy and led a team of 125 lawyers, advocates and other staff dedicated to advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities. She previously worked at DRC as director of public policy.

Marcus spent 11 successful years as executive director of Disability Rights Maryland, and she also served as executive director of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation in Washington, DC. She has been a board member and officer of the National Disability Rights Network and co-chaired its legislative committee. Marcus earned her J.D. and B.A. in International Relations/World Politics at the University of California, Davis.

Marcus assumes her new responsibilities on September 12, 2018. The board extends its gratitude to Vicki Smith, the organization’s executive director for the past eleven years. Smith will retire from Disability Rights NC on September 30, 2018.