Dr. Jill Biden’s connection to NoVA starts in the classroom: specifically, in the halls at Northern Virginia Community College, where she taught English at the Alexandria campus from 2009 to 2019, according to past schedules. She even spoke at the 50th-anniversary commencement back in 2016 at Jiffy Lube Live—her final address as second lady.
“I was given a new office in the White House,” she said of her role. “It has marble floors and columns, a fireplace and large windows that overlook the National Mall. Then of course, I have my cubicle at NoVA [Community College]. But, like all the other teachers, my cubicle is filled with family photos, crayon drawings from my grandchildren, notes from my students. It’s a place that feels most like me.”
So it’s no wonder that she would want to continue teaching when she’s first lady—reports indicate that she hopes to do so, becoming the only woman in her position to hold a paying job outside her White House duties.
Others are hopeful that she’ll continue supporting local charitable efforts. Take the annual NewsBash soiree. Typically held in February at the Pearl Street Warehouse in DC, the fete brings together newswomen throughout Northern Virginia (think Alison Starling of ABC7 and Angie Goff of FOX5) and DC to raise funds for breast cancer charities. Biden, who has been personally involved in the cause (she started the Biden Breast Health Initiative in Delaware after four of her friends were diagnosed) participated in NewsBash for three separate years. The group always had to work around her teaching schedule, says Laura Evans Manatos, founder of her namesake Laura Evans Media, a former news anchor and one of NewsBash’s creators. “She was so dedicated. We [planned] NewsBash around her nonteaching days because she was there every other day.”
The group tried to get her involved for 2020 (the beneficiary was the Step Sisters organization out of Ashburn), but that tiny thing called her husband’s presidential campaign kept her too busy to participate.
Regardless, Biden’s involvement has been a boon to the collective. “She tries to use her platform to elevate the message and get the word out a little more,” says Manatos. “It helped us boost our profile and with our fundraising.” Biden most recently spoke in 2019, during NewBash’s 10th year; the event brought in upward of $50,000, a record-breaking tally. As for 2021? Manatos hopes to extend an invitation to the event, in whatever form it takes. (The group is still assessing the logistics due to the pandemic.) “I’ll ask her if I have the floor!”
Biden’s relationship with the NewsBash folks went beyond the main event. One year, she attended a tour of the benefiting charity’s facility to see how the money raised was being put to use. She also hosted a breast cancer event (a barre class, to be exact) on the front lawn of the vice presidential mansion; the NewsBash organizers were invited.
“She was in workout gear, and we all had cookies afterward. She talked to all of us,” says Manatos. “What you see is what you get … She’s just too cool. That’s a good one. She’s just cool.”
This story originally appeared in the January issue as part of a special Inauguration feature. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.