Senate Confirms Ted Mitchell As Top U.S. Higher-Education Official

Career College Central summary:

  • The U.S. Senate last week confirmed Ted Mitchell, the chief executive of a nonprofit educational-venture fund and a former president of Occidental College, as the Education Department’s top higher-education official. President Obama nominated Mr. Mitchell for the job in October 2013.
  • As under secretary of education, Mr. Mitchell will replace Martha J. Kanter, a former community-college chancellor who was named to the post five years ago and who announced in August 2013 that she would step down to return to academe.
  • Following the Senate’s unanimous confirmation vote, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a written statement that Mr. Mitchell’s experience as a college president and administrator, and his "unwavering commitment to equity for every student, makes him uniquely suited for this role."
  • Although Mr. Mitchell is a former college president, his recent work as the leader of the San Francisco-based NewSchools Venture Fund has focused on reforming elementary and secondary education through charter schools and new technologies. He also has experience in teacher-training reform, a recent focus for the department. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded NewSchools more than $82-million in grants since 2003, including $3.2-million in the 2013 fiscal year to "support the development of new teacher-preparation programs," according to the foundation’s grants database.
  • During his time at NewSchools, Mr. Mitchell "has worked to foster innovation that benefits all students, especially those in underserved communities," Mr. Duncan said.

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