President Bush last week nominated Kerri L. Briggs to serve as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education in the Department of Education. The position opened when Henry L. Johnson resigned in December.
Ms. Briggs, who is the acting assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy in the department, spent a year as a senior policy adviser in the office of Deputy Secretary Raymond J. Simon, where she worked on K-12 policy under the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
She first came to the department in 2001 as a senior policy adviser in the office of elementary and secondary education, where she reviewed and approved state accountability plans. She helped write the department’s regulations on accountability, assessment, and teacher quality for the NCLB law.
Ms. Briggs will assume a key role in K-12 policy, as the Education Department and Congress gear up for reauthorization of the NCLB law, scheduled for this year.
“I have real respect for Kerri,” said Scott R. Palmer, a lawyer with the Washington-based law firm of Holland & Knight who represents states working with the department on NCLB implementation.
“I think she’s very knowledgeable about the issues. I think she works very hard and she’s willing to engage on the issues. … That doesn’t mean that we always agree,” he cautioned. But he added, “I think it’s a positive nomination.”
Before coming to the department, Ms. Briggs worked for two years as a research associate and the director of evaluation at the University of Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts, in Austin.
Like many high-level department officials, Ms. Briggs is from Texas. She was born in Midland and attended the Houston public schools.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1989, and did her postgraduate work at the University of Southern California, where she earned a master’s, and a Ph.D. in education policy and organizational studies.
Ms. Briggs was unable to comment because her nomination is pending. She faces confirmation by the Senate.
A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2007 edition of Education Week