Former State Board of Education president Ted Mitchell was confirmed Thursday as under secretary of education, the third-highest ranking official at the U.S. Department of Education.
Mitchell, who will oversee higher education in the federal department, has been an advocate for education reform in California and nationally. He was president of the State Board of Education from 2008 through 2010 and was president of Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1999 to 2005.
He left Occidental to become chief executive officer of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit that funds innovative educational programs targeting low-income students. Mitchell also held posts at the School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and in the education department at Dartmouth College.
He replaces Martha Kanter, former chancellor of the DeAnza-Foothill Community College District in Los Altos Hills. Kanter, who was appointed under secretary in 2009, announced her resignation in August and said she would return to academia.
“(Mitchell’s) experience as a college president and administrator, as well as his unwavering commitment to equity for every student, makes him uniquely suited for this role,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “He will lead us through this important time in higher education as we continue to work toward the President’s goal to produce the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world by 2020.”