June 20, 2024


Science It Works

Virginia Beach teacher Maia Chaka now an NFL referee

Maia Chaka is ready to make the calls on crucial plays during National Football League games.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Friday, Maia Chaka’s life changed forever while making history, breaking barriers by expanding gender and racial equality. 

Chaka is a physical education teacher at the Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach and now she’s America’s game-changer.

“It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to work for about the highest level,” said Chaka. 

She is the first African-American woman hired to officiate in the National Football League. The NFL made the announcement Friday morning.

“You have to go after your dreams and you have to follow them… and if you have a passion for something and you want to follow it, just make sure you’re not compromising your morals and your values. Do you want to get success? Do you want to make sure you’re getting it the right way?” said Chaka. 

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance-including as part of the NFL officiating development program have earned her a position as an NFL official,” said Troy Vincent, Sr., who is the NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations.

“I understand what this means for my community, what this means for women, and what this means for my culture as a whole,” Chaka said.

On Friday, some Renaissance Academy staff and students watched the announcement live.

“The kids just really look up to her and the other teachers. It’s just really admirable,” said Renaissance Academy Director of Alternative Education Kay Thomas.

“It’s a great example for the students that we serve here at the Renaissance Academy. It shows her hard work and dedication really paid off,” said Renaissance Academy Assistant Principal Adam Brown. 

Chaka is a graduate from Norfolk State University, earning her bachelor’s in education and has officiated multiple Pac-12 football games.

She plans to stay in Hampton Roads and keep teaching.

“You know 757, I love y’all!” said Chaka.