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Marshall Smith of Stanford Is Among Five Named to Top Department Posts

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WASHINGTON--President Clinton has named five more Education Department officials, including one nomination that indicates the Administration intends to change the agency's leadership structure.

Mr. Clinton last week announced the nomination of Marshall S. Smith, who is on leave from his post as the dean of Stanford University's education school, to be the undersecretary--a job that does not now exist.

Three assistant secretaries were also named last week: Thomas Payzant, the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, for elementary and secondary education; Judith Heumann, the vice president of the World Institute on Disability, for special education and rehabilitative services; and Augusta Souza Kappner, the acting president of City College, a part of the City University of New York, for vocational and adult education.

In addition, Mr. Clinton on March 5 named Norma Cantu, the Southwestern regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, to be assistant secretary for civil rights.

Reviving the undersecretary slot would allow Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley to give lofty titles to two top aides.

Mr. Smith, who worked on the Clinton transition team and has been one of Mr. Riley's top advisers, was considered a likely candidate for the number-two post of deputy secretary. Although that job went to Madeleine M. Kunin, a former Governor of Vermont, Mr. Smith has remained a significant presence.

"It's obvious that they need Mike [Smith] and had to create a sufficiently prestigious slot for him,'' said a senior Democratic aide on the House Education and Labor Committee. "If he's not running the department, it sure looks that way.''

By Any Other Name

The agency's second-ranking official held the undersecretary title until November 1990, when the Bush Administration asked Congress to make several title changes to insure that each department's number-two official held the title and rank of "deputy secretary.''

After Lamar Alexander became Secretary in February 1991, he decided to bring the former Xerox executive David T. Kearns aboard as his deputy. But Mr. Alexander also wanted to retain the incumbent deputy, Ted Sanders, who was considered a capable manager and was popular in the education community. His solution was to revive the undersecretary job, in which Mr. Sanders kept the number-two official's traditional role of managing day-to-day affairs and picked up some additional duties.

When Mr. Sanders left in November 1991, the undersecretary title disappeared and responsibilities were reshuffled again.

The Clinton team apparently plans yet another reshuffling.

In an interview last week, Ms. Kunin said her primary role will be to "focus on the cross-cutting issues, like service, welfare reform, training, and health-care reform, where the Education Department is working with other departments.''

Ms. Kunin said she would also aid in the effort to improve internal management and morale at the "demoralized'' department and would assume Mr. Kearns's assignment as liaison to the business community.

Asked if there would be enough authority to go around, Ms. Kunin said, "We're all adults,'' and praised Mr. Smith's "policy expertise.''

Mr. Smith is expected to play a chief role in setting education policy. He has taken the lead in briefing reporters and education groups on the Clinton budget strategy, and is also heading the effort to draft an education-reform bill.

An aide to Mr. Riley said the department will drop one assistant secretary position--as yet unspecified--so that the number of top officials on the payroll will stay the same.

The most likely target is the policy and planning position, as its duties were part of Mr. Sanders' portfolio and dovetail with the role Mr. Smith has played. The aide was unsure if Congressional approval is required.

Nominees Praised

Education lobbyists who had hoped a practicing educator would receive a high-level post were pleased by the appointment of Mr. Payzant, who served as superintendent in Oklahoma City; Eugene, Ore.; and Springfield Township, Pa., before taking the San Diego job in 1982.

"We've waited 12 years for the appointment of a high-profile, nuts-and-bolts educator,'' said Bruce Hunter, the senior associate executive director of the American Association of School Administrators.

Education lobbyists also praised the other nominees' qualifications.

Ms. Heumann--who chained herself to a gate at the Health and Human Services Department last year to protest Bush Administration policies--became disabled when she contracted polio as a child. In 1970, after filing a lawsuit, she became the first wheelchair user to teach in the New York City public schools.

As a Congressional aide in the mid-1970's, she helped develop both the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which guarantees disabled children a public education, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which bars bias against the disabled in federally funded programs. She served as deputy director of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, Calif., before helping found the Oakland-based World Institute on Disability, a public-policy organization.

Ms. Cantu worked on education and other issues as a MALDEF lawyer, and is a former English teacher. She said last week that it is premature to discuss her agenda for the O.C.R.

During a long career in adult education, Ms. Kappner has served as CUNY's dean for academic affairs, president of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and dean for continuing education at LaGuardia Community College.

O.E.R.I. Speculation

Speculation continued last week about the position of assistant secretary for educational research and improvement. Sources in the research community say several prominent education researchers have turned the job down.

Sharon Robinson, the director of the National Education Association's Center on Innovation, is said to still be a candidate. An N.E.A. source confirmed that the union has lobbied strongly in her behalf, and that its president, Keith B. Geiger, has been personally involved.

Ramon Cortines, a former San Francisco superintendent of schools, is expected to be named assistant secretary for intergovernmental and interagency affairs. Mr. Cortines led the transition task force that studied intergovernmental issues at the department, and has been advising Mr. Riley.

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