Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced placements in nine roles at the Department of Education.
Josh Venable will serve as chief of staff. He was previously in politics, working on Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential campaign and Bush's research and advocacy organization, Foundation for Excellence in Education.
James Manning will serve as senior adviser to the undersecretary and acting undersecretary, a position that has traditionally shaped higher education policy. Manning has been leading the Trump administration's transition team for the Department of Education. He previously served as acting chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, the department's office that handles all matters related to student loans. He has served in the department since the Carter administration.
"He knows the Office of Federal Student Aid inside and out, which has been a trillion-dollar headache for many an education secretary," says Rohit Chopra, former student loans ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Robert Eitel will serve as senior counselor. He was formerly general counsel to Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit provider of higher education that was audited and fined for its financial aid practices by the Department of Education in February. Eitel has been serving DeVos as her special assistant during the administration's transition since taking a leave of absence from Bridgepoint.
Ebony Lee will serve as deputy chief of staff for policy. She previously helped shape charter school policy as a senior program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Jason Botel will serve as deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Before this announcement, he was President Trump's senior adviser on education.
Candice Jackson will serve as deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights. She was previously a lawyer in Washington state. Analysts predict she will be a controversial figure. During Trump's campaign for president, she advocated on behalf of women who accused President Bill Clinton of harassment. But she also criticized women who accused Trump of harassment, calling them "fake victims."
Other announced hires include:
- Dougie Simmons, deputy chief of staff for operations;
- Jana Toner, liaison to the White House; and
- Jose Viana, assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition.
None of these appointments currently require approval by the U.S. Senate, but those serving in acting roles would require Senate approval if they took over their roles permanently (Brown/Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post, 4/12; Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed, 4/13).
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