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News Update

Education transition team for Biden administration announced, with Linda Darling-Hammond as “lead”

President-elect Joe Biden announced his 20-person education transition team, along with teams focused on 38 other federal agencies and functions ranging from Arts and Humanities to the U.S. Postal Service. Heading the education team is Linda Darling Hammond, president of the Learning Policy Institute, as well as president of California’s State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond played the same role a dozen years ago on the transition team of President-elect Barack Obama.

Four of the members work for the American Federation of Teachers or the National Education Association, but almost all of the others have worked at senior levels for the federal government in some capacity before, especially in the Obama administration. For more details on the K-12 members, check out this report by EdWeek’s Evie Blad. The team is heavily tilted towards members whose principal background is in K-12 arenas. One of the few from the postsecondary field is James Kvaal, president of the Oakland-based The Institute for College Access and Success. Kvaal also worked in the Obama administration, both at the U.S. Dept. of Education and at the White House for the Domestic Policy Council.

Earlier this week, there was a good deal of speculation that Darling-Hammond was a top prospect to be Secretary of Education, but she has indicated forcefully that she is not interested in the position, preferring to stay in California to work with Gov. Newsom in her role as president of the State Board of Education as well as of the Learning Policy Institute. In response, Gov. Newsom on Wednesday said that “Linda is a vital leader in my administration, and is instrumental in advancing our shared objectives to expand equity, set the course to universal pre-K and prepare all students for success in college, careers and civic engagement — especially as we manage the impacts of COVID-19.”

As to her decision not to move to D.C., Newsom said “I am thrilled that Linda will continue to architect and drive our vision for education in California, in addition to advising President-Elect Biden and his transition team as they chart a better course for our students nationwide.”

The full transition team is as follows:

Linda Darling-Hammond Learning Policy Institute
Ary Amerikaner The Education Trust
Beth Antunez American Federation of Teachers
Jim Brown United States Senate, Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (Retired)
Ruthanne Buck Self-employed
Norma Cantu University of Texas at Austin, School of Law
Jessica Cardichon Learning Policy Institute
Keia Cole MassMutual
Lindsay Dworkin Alliance for Excellent Education
Donna Harris-Aikens National Education Association
Kristina Ishmael Open Education Global
Bob Kim John Jay College of Criminal Justice
James Kvaal The Institute for College Access & Success
Peggy McLeod UnidosUS
Paul Monteiro Howard University
Pedro Rivera Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Roberto Rodriguez Teach Plus, Inc
Shital Shah American Federation of Teachers
Marla Ucelli-Kashyap American Federation of Teachers
Emma Vadehra The Century Foundation