School & District Management

Sclafani Steps Down From Top Vocational Education Post

By Sean Cavanagh — August 30, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Susan K. Sclafani, who as the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for vocational and adult education won the respect of many career-oriented school officials even as she pressed them to improve their academic programs, announced her resignation last week.


Ms. Sclafani, 60, will step down Sept. 6. She did not specify what her next job would be, though she indicated she would focus on secondary school improvement.

“I hope to assist states and districts as they implement the reforms of No Child Left Behind, especially mathematics and science as well as high school redesign,” she wrote in an Aug. 24 e-mail message to her staff. She was not available for an interview.

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings named Beto Gonzalez, who was hired as a top deputy to Ms. Sclafani earlier this month, to take over her position on an interim basis until President Bush nominates a successor. Mr. Gonzalez, a former college dean, most recently served as a public-affairs official in the Department of Labor.

Ms. Sclafani oversaw a $1.3 billion program that was the federal government’s largest single investment in high schools. She also served at a time when the Bush administration was often critical of vocational education. The president’s proposed fiscal 2006 budget calls for eliminating the federal vocational program—a move that outraged many advocates—and channeling that money into a plan to expand the No Child Left Behind Act’s requirements at the high school level. The proposal has drawn no backing so far in Congress, where vocational education enjoys strong support.

Despite her position as a political appointee in the administration, Ms. Sclafani spoke favorably of vocational education and its potential—when implemented effectively—to help struggling students. That stance drew praise from the career and technical school community, but also seemed to put her at odds occasionally with the administration’s outlook, observers said. (“Tough Message, Diplomatic Messenger,” Aug. 10, 2005)

“We really felt she was focused on improving education and wasn’t as politically motivated as, sometimes, people in that position are,” said Kimberly A. Green, the executive director of the Washington-based National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. “Her leadership will be missed.”


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Principals Have a Lead Role in the ‘Science of Reading.’ Are They Ready?
The push to shifting schools to the science of reading has often neglected the vital role of the principal.
9 min read
School & District Management Quiz What Do You Know About the Most Influential People in School Districts? Take Our Quiz
Answer 7 questions about the superintendent profession.
1 min read
Image of icons for gender, pay, demographics.
School & District Management Opinion I Invited My Students to Be the Principal for a Day. Here’s What I Learned
When I felt myself slipping into a springtime slump, this simple activity reminded me of my “why” as an educator.
S. Kambar Khoshaba
4 min read
052024 OPINION Khoshaba PRINCIPAL end the year with positivity
E+/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management The Complicated Fight Over Four-Day School Weeks
Missouri lawmakers want to encourage large districts to maintain five-day weeks—even as four-day weeks grow more popular.
7 min read
Calendar 4 day week