INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

Get your information from the source! The City of Winchester's INSIGHT Citizen's Academy provides area residents, Winchester business owners and their staff an opportunity to discover their city through interactive, hands-on activities and to gain exposure to the wide range of government services, programs, functions and challenges.

2021 INSIGHT Citizen's Academy

It is with deep sadness that we will not be offering the Academy in 2021 due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is normally held January-April, so we hope to offer the program again in 2022. Check back for details or let us know of your interest and we'll send you the schedule when it's ready.

Interested in the 2022 INSIGHT Academy?

Send an email to and we'll contact you when the schedule is finalized this fall.


At every session, discuss the City’s past, present and future with department leaders and staff.  Get to know the people that make the daily decisions and find out how and, most importantly, why decisions are made.  Government operations can be complicated if you don’t have the opportunity to be a part of the action.  Now you can get inside, get explanations, meet local officials and gain a new INSIGHT into your local government.

“Everyone we met with was very enthusiastic about sharing with us what they do, and explaining a lot of processes. I really liked the fact that they all wanted questions and were eager to answer them.”

The program's goal is to familiarize local residents with the various functions of Winchester’s government; encourage continued involvement; enhance residents’ ability to navigate through the complex system of government services, and provide an avenue for open communication with City officials.

“This program was one of the highlights of my life in Winchester.”


2020 Schedule 

Day Date Topic/Activity Location
Wednesday January 8 Dinner | Welcome Reception | Winchester History Jim Barnett Park Social Hall, 1001 E. Cork St.
Wednesday January 15 The Big Picture with the City Manager Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall, 15 N. Cameron St.
Wednesday January 22 Budget Overview | Capital Improvement Projects | Infrastructure Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall
Tuesday January 28 Observe Council Meeting (6 pm) & Work Session (immediately following)
Options: In person, online or Comcast cable ch. 6
Rouss City Hall, Council Chambers
Wednesday January 29 Police | Tour of Timbrook Public Safety Center Timbrook Public Safety Center, 231 E. Piccadilly St.
Wednesday February 5 Emergency Management | E-911 | Tour of 911 Center Timbrook Public Safety Center
Wednesday February 12 Fire & Rescue | Tour of Fire Station Shawnee Volunteer Fire Station
Wednesday February 19 Sheriff | Commonwealth Attorney | Clerk of Circuit Court Joint Judicial Center
Wednesday February 26 Tourism Winchester-Frederick Co. Visitors Center
Wednesday March 4 Planning | Zoning & Inspections Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall
Wednesday March 11 Social Services 24 Baker Street
Tuesday March 17 Commissioner of the Revenue | Treasurer Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall
Wednesday March 18 Winchester Public Schools | Tour of JHHS John Handley High School
Wednesday March 25 Tour of Water Treatment Plant Water Treatment Plant, Middletown
Tuesday March 31 Tour of Wastewater Treatment Plant Wastewater Treatment Plant, Rt. 7
Wednesday April 1 Parks & Recreation Jim Barnett Park Rec Center
Wednesday April 8 Economic Development | Old Town Winchester Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall
Wednesday April 15 Public Works | City Trees | Tour of City Yards City Yards, 301 E. Cork Street
Wednesday April 22 Dinner | Graduation Rouss City Hall, Exhibit Hall

NOTE: Schedule is subject to change. INSIGHT participants will be notified of the final schedule prior to the start of the program.

“Great program for new citizens to area and employees of agencies that interact with the city government."

Program Registration   


  • Prior to the start of the program, you will receive the complete program schedule with meeting locations via email.
  • INSIGHT alumni are welcome to participate during any portion of the academy at any time.
  • Space is limited to 30 participants. Be sure to register early to reserve your spot.
  • Because these activities create obligations for City personnel, we ask that you make every reasonable effort to attend all scheduled events.

“If I were Emperor of Winchester, I would make this program mandatory.”


  • Gain a deeper understanding of how local government works from the people in the government who directly serve you
  • Meet government leaders and staff members and visit various government facilities
  • Understand how you can become engaged in public affairs
  • Participate in discussions with City staff about successes and challenges
  • Serve as a role model for other community residents interested in social change
  • Help foster an environment that contributes to the quality of life for all residents
  • Gain the knowledge needed to become a member of a City advisory board or commission
  • Help build a livable, sustainable community

“Having the opportunity to meet the staff first-hand was the best part - as it made the workings of the government come to life.”


The INSIGHT Citizen’s Academy was created in 2004 in an effort to open communication between the citizens and the City of Winchester. 

The International City and County Management Association (ICMA) featured Winchester’s INSIGHT Citizen’s Academy as a case study at its 2009 leading practices conference.  City Managers from across the country attended the conference to learn about proven programs in other communities so that they may implement similar programs at home.  Being featured at ICMA’s conference is a compliment to the program and an honor for the City of Winchester.

Since 2004, approx. 400 people have graduated from the program and many have gone on to serve on an advisory board and Council (Les Veach, John Tagnesi, Milt McInturff, Art Major, John Hill, Kevin McKannan and Bill Wiley). 

You won't believe all there is to discover at the City of Winchester’s INSIGHT Citizen’s Academy!

“Great job by the City. It really makes one feel they can be a part of things.”

Amy SimmonsAmy Simmons
Communications Director

Rouss City Hall
15 North Cameron Street
Winchester, VA  22601
(540) 667-1815, ext. 1670