With Arne Duncan now in place as secretary of education, President Obama is working to fill out the U.S. Department of Education leadership team with the appointments of several officials below the level of deputy secretary.
Last week, the president named Russlynn Ali, a vice president of the Washington-based Education Trust, as his nominee for assistant secretary for civil rights. A lawyer who has worked on issues involving minority and low-income students, Ms. Ali serves as the executive director of the advocacy group’s West Coast branch in Oakland, Calif. She has been particularly active on teacher-quality and -compensation issues.
Carmel Martin is President Obama’s pick for assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, a position that plays a key role in developing policy initiatives for the department. She was the chief education adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Ms. Martin, a lawyer, also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice enforcing key parts of federal civil rights law.
Peter Cunningham, a communications consultant who worked for Mr. Duncan when he ran the Chicago public schools, was named assistant secretary for communications and outreach. He is a former speechwriter for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
A version of this article appeared in the February 11, 2009 edition of Education Week as Civil Rights, Policy Leaders Named for Ed. Dept