Change of Venue
Educational technology guru John P. Bailey is trading his federal
cubbyhole for life on the campaign trail.
After serving for two years as the director of the Department of Education's office of educational technology, the 31-year-old Pennsylvania native has left that post to take a job as a deputy policy director for President Bush's re- election campaign.
At the department, Mr. Bailey oversaw efforts to promote the effective use of technology in the nation's schools.
As a full-time staff member of Bush-Cheney 2004, Mr. Bailey will work on education, workforce, and housing issues. He said in an interview last week that he received a call from the campaign inquiring about his interest in working for the re-election effort, and that there was "mutual" interest in the move.
Mr. Bailey, who started the campaign job on Feb. 2, views his new duties as more of a continuation of policy work than a foray into a politics.
"It was a great opportunity to stay involved in advancing the No Child Left Behind initiative," he said, referring to the administration's signature K-12 education law. His time with the campaign operation so far has involved "further clarifying and describing the policy that we set out," he said.
Mr. Bailey previously worked for six years as Pennsylvania's state educational technology director, where his boss was Eugene W. Hickok, now the Education Department's acting deputy secretary.
Department officials said they knew of only one other agency official who had joined the president's campaign. Bryan Langley, who worked on advance scheduling for agency events, took a similar position at the campaign office in Arlington, Va.
As the department's educational technology chief, Mr. Bailey won the respect of state and local officials for his willingness to listen and his strong advocacy for technology in schools, said Melinda George, the executive director of the State Education Technology Directors Association. Those skills will help him cope with the world of political conventions and public opinion polls, she predicted.
"One of the most accessible people I know," she said of Mr. Bailey. "He enjoys meeting people, and being on the front lines."
Vol. 23, Issue 24, Page 25Published in Print: February 25, 2004, as Federal File