The Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA) Leadership Academy was started as an initiative, lead by the VATA, to engage professionally motivated and enthusiastic certified athletic trainers, licensed in the state of Virginia, with a desire to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities for leadership with an interest in advancing the athletic training profession. This program is designed for athletic trainers who have a desire to serve the VATA, Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association, and National Athletic Trainers’ Association and make a difference in their community.  Participants are presented with a curriculum that provides for their development as a leader in athletic training.  The inaugural cohort began in July 2019.



Participants (students) in the VATA Leadership Academy will have the opportunity to interact with mentors throughout the state to further their development and preparation as leaders.  There will be regularly scheduled online meetings that will occur twice a month (usually about 1 hour), over the course of a year, with a curriculum that will cover components of leadership in areas that address personal growth and skill development.  The number of participants is limited.  The deadline for applications is Sunday, April 26th, at 11:59pm EST and applicants will be notified of their admittance to the program in early May. Questions can be directed to  If you are interested in becoming a participant in the VATA Leadership Academy, please email your resume to and fill out the application form below.




The VATA Leadership Academy is looking for mentors to engage with participants (students) in the program.  Mentors provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.  Expectations include a willingness to value the mentee as a person; develop mutual trust and respect; maintain confidentiality; listen both to what is being said and how it is being said; help the participant solve his or her own problem(s), rather than give direction; and focus on the participant’s development.  Mentors and Participants are both professional athletic trainers and there will likely be mutual growth and development of each through interaction and engagement with each other.  The deadline for applications is Sunday, April 26th, at 11:59pm EST.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please email your resume to and fill out the application form below.



Josh Williamson serves Washington and Lee University as the Director of Athletic Training Services & Sports Performance.  He has spent 16 years at Washington and Lee University, beginning his career as an assistant athletic trainer in the fall of 2004.  A native of Robinson, Illinois, Williamson received a bachelor of science degree in athletic training from Indiana State University in 2003, a master of science in athletic training from Indiana State University in 2004 and a doctor of athletic training degree from the University of Idaho in 2017.

Joshua Williamson, DAT, LAT, ATC

K Armstrong.jpg

Kirk Armstrong serves James Madison University as a Professor and Academic Unit Head in the Department of Health Professions. Kirk has been an athletic training educator with more than 14 years experience, with expertise in simulations and standardized patients. He has made numerous state, regional and national presentations regarding the use of standardized patients to document student learning outcomes in athletic training. He is an accreditation site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Kirk earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Indianapolis, Master of Science from Middle Tennessee State University, and Doctor of Education from Ball State University.

Kirk Armstrong, EdD, ATC

Example Topical Outline (2019-2020):

  • Identity

  • Leadership

  • Models

  • Mentors

  • Reflection

  • Practice

  • Gratitude

  • Resolution

  • Transactional and Transformational Relationships

  • Motivation and Inspiration

  • National Athletic Training Month

  • Accountability and Responsibility

  • Debriefing and Reflection

  • Trust

  • Characteristics of a Leader

  • Delegation and Collaboration


“The VATA Leadership Academy will help you develop personally and professionally into a better leader. It doesn’t matter what your age is or how much leadership experience you have the VATA Leadership Academy will enhance your soft skills.”

-Matthew J. Gage, PhD, LAT, ATC


“The VATA Leadership academy has affected me and the way I practice athletic training. I have been rewarded beyond measure by the profession of athletic training and I so want to give back. The interactions within the Leadership Academy have given me different perspectives on the professional organization, which in turn has changed the way I interact with my patients, student athletic trainers, and other professionals.”

- Paul G. Rupp, MS, LAT, ATC


“If you have wanted to give back to the athletic training profession but have had difficulty getting connected with other ATs in Virginia then the VATA Leadership Academy is for you. It will provide you with a network of ATs that want to learn together and make a difference in the profession.”

-Matthew J. Gage, PhD, LAT, ATC