Kathleen Leos Resigns from Education Department Post

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 26, 2007 1 min read
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Kathleen Leos has resigned from her position as the director of the office of English-language acquisition of the U.S. Department of Educationafter two years in the job and five and a half years working for that office.

Starting on Monday, which is also the first day of the Education Department’s annual summit for English-language learners, Margarita Pinkos, the assistant associate deputy secretary for the office of English-language acquisition, will be acting director.

In an e-mail message answering questions I sent to the department about her resignation, Ms. Leos said she is “leaving to pursue a multitude of projects” that she had started before she joined the Education Department. She said she hasn’t contacted anyone about future employment, which is against the department’s ethics regulations.

The former Dallas school board member said her greatest contribution while working for the Education Department has been to change the work of the office of English-language acquisition “from a local, district-based discretionary grant program to a comprehensive systemwide formula-based program—developing systems from the national to the state to the local district level.”

In this regard, I remember that many times, Ms. Leos stressed in interviews with me that school districts and states need to establish English-language-development standards for ELLs and align curriculum with them and academic content standards for all students. Also, tests need to be aligned with standards. “Alignment” was sort of her theme.

In addition, Ms. Leos noted in her e-mail, she changed the focus of the National Professional Development Grant program so that it provided training for all teachers who work with ELLs, not just bilingual and English-as-a-second-language teachers.

Ms. Leos was accessible to reporters—and here’s one reporter who appreciates her for that.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.