White House Announces Resignations Of Six Education Department Officials

March 22, 1989 3 min read

Washington--Six top Education Department officials appointed by President Reagan will be cleaning out their desks this month, the department confirmed last week.

Bill R. Phillips, chief of staff to Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos, said President Bush officially accepted the resignations of five assistant secretaries and a deputy undersecretary late last week. The resignations are effective March 23.

The White House is not expected to fill the positions immediately, Mr. Phillips said, adding that “we have candidates for some of [the slots] but not all of them.”

The departing officials are:

Patricia M. Hines, assistant secretary for educational research and improvement. She was named in November to fill on an acting basis the post vacated by Chester E. Finn Jr., and was appointed without Senate confirmation during the January Congressional recess.

Research lobbyists and some veteran agency employees criticized the appointment, saying that Ms. Hines had insufficient experience in the research field and that she played a supporting role in a controversial battle for control of the department’s research functions in the early years of the Reagan Administration. (See Education Week, Nov. 9, 1988.)

Ms. Hines later served as an aide to Gary L. Bauer, both when he was undersecretary of education and when he was domestic-policy adviser to President Reagan.

Stormy Tenure

Madeleine C. Will, assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services. She had held the position since 1983, often in stormy circumstances.

A longtime advocate for handicapped children, Ms. Will was an active proponent of the so-called “regular-education initiative"--a controversial effort to better serve special-education students by mainstreaming them into regular classrooms.

During her tenure, Ms. Will was the subject of a departmental investigation after the disclosure that a staff member had been kept on the office payroll for three months after resigning. And the assistant secretary’s public dispute with Justin Dart Jr., the former commissioner of rehabilitation services, led to his forced resignation in 1987.

Ms. Will was to have left the department last Friday, using accumulated vacation time.

Beryl Dorsett, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Ms. Dorsett, appointed in February 1987, was previously a Chapter 1 coordinator and an elementary-school administrator in the New York City system.

Republican Activist

Legree S. Daniels, assistant secretary for civil rights. Appointed in March 1987, Ms. Daniels was one of three black women--along with Ms. Dorsett and Bonnie F. Guiton, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education--confirmed for ed posts early that summer.

Ms. Daniels previously served as a deputy secretary of state in Pennsylvania and as a state election commissioner. She was also very active in Republican politics, serving as chairman of the National Black Republican Council and a member of the executive committee of the Republican National Committee.

Kenneth D. Whitehead, assistant secretary for postsecondary education. Mr. Whitehead was a depu8ty assistant secretary in the Reagan Administration and stepped into the division’s top post last March, when C. Ronald Kimberling vacated it.

Patrick Pizzella, deputy undersecretary for management. Mr. Pizzella, formerly the administrator of management services in the same division, took the deputy undersecretary’s post when Mary M. Rose left in October.

Like Ms. Hines, Mr. Whitehead and Mr. Pizzella were among a group of officials officially appointed by President Reagan in January. Because the Congress was in recess, they did not have to undergo confirmation by the Senate.

An informed source said two other “recess appointments,” along with Ms. Guiton, were expected to retain their posts. They are Charles E.M. Kolb, deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation, and Michelle Easton, deputy undersecretary for intergovernmental and interagency affairs.

Mr. Phillips said no decision had been made on whether to retain these officials. “They are as much in limbo as everyone else,” he added.

--jm & dv

A version of this article appeared in the March 22, 1989 edition of Education Week as White House Announces Resignations Of Six Education Department Officials