Bush Names Leidinger to Assistant Secretary for Management Post

By Erik W. Robelen — October 10, 2001 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

William J. Leidinger, a former county executive and local politician, has been named by President Bush to fill a long-vacant slot at the Department of Education: assistant secretary for management.

And a published report indicates that the president may reach into cutting-edge territory for an assistant secretary for postsecondary education, naming to the position a lobbyist for a for-profit university known primarily for its online courses.

Mr. Leidinger served as the county executive for Fairfax County, Va., a suburb of Washington, from 1992 until 1996, when he was fired by the board of supervisors on a 7-2 vote. He also served as a City Council member in Richmond, Va., and as the city manager there before moving to Fairfax County.

Position Long Vacant

Lindsey Kozberg, a spokeswoman for Education Secretary Rod Paige, said the job of assistant secretary for management had not been filled for six years, spanning most of the Clinton administration. The position, which reports to the deputy secretary of education, will be focused largely inward to improve the structure, functioning, and administrative matters within the department, Ms. Kozberg said.

The duties include work on personnel issues, financial management, contracting, facilities, and support services, she said. The appointment requires Senate confirmation.

From 1997 until several months ago, Mr. Leidinger worked in a suburban Washington office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a New York and London-based accounting and business-consulting company. When he left the company earlier this year, he was the Mid-Atlantic business- development manager.

Mr. Leidinger, 61, had an increasingly rocky relationship with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors before its decision to vote him out. Among the reasons board leaders cited at the time were Mr. Leidinger’s purported failure to adequately communicate with the board and questions about his handling of a contract for a computer-system upgrade that went far above the original budget. There were also disagreements over fiscal policy.

But Michael R. Frey, a Republican supervisor who served on the Fairfax County board during Mr. Leidinger’s tenure, said that the former county executive was swept out by a political changing of the guard.

“Bill is very talented, very capable,” Mr. Frey said. “He was let go for political reasons. It didn’t have anything to do with his performance.” Mr. Frey noted that when Mr. Leidinger was appointed, the board was controlled by Republicans, but that in 1995, Democrats took the majority.

The Final Slot

Department of Education officials also say President Bush will soon announce his selection for the position of assistant secretary for postsecondary education, now the only assistant secretary’s position without a name officially attached to it. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last week that the name will be Sally Stroup, a Washington lobbyist for the University of Phoenix.

One of the nation’s largest private accredited universities, the for- profit University of Phoenix has more than 105 campuses, but is best known for its online degree programs.

Ms. Stroup worked for 11 years with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, where she helped manage programs for the student-loan-guarantee agency, before becoming an aide to then- Rep. Bill Goodling, a Republican from Pennsylvania who chaired the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Edward Elmendorf, a former assistant secretary for postsecondary education during the Reagan administration and now the vice president for government relations and public affairs for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said Ms. Stroup would bring a strong background on a variety of higher education issues to the position.

“She is a knowledgeable person who has seen the pros and cons of most education legislation and regulation,” Mr. Elmendorf said.

But the job of assistant secretary for postsecondary education today, he noted, carries responsibilities different from those during his tenure in the 1980’s. “The role has been reduced significantly,” he said. “It’s now more of a policy position rather than having direct oversight of program funds.”


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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
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.
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

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

Federal Electric School Buses Get a Boost From New State and Federal Policies
New federal standards for emissions could accelerate the push to produce buses that run on clean energy.
3 min read
Stockton Unified School District's new electric bus fleet reduces over 120,000 pounds of carbon emissions and leverages The Mobility House's smart charging and energy management system.
A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency sets higher fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. By 2032, it projects, 40 percent of new medium heavy-duty vehicles, including school buses, will be electric.
Business Wire via AP
Federal What Would Happen to K-12 in a 2nd Trump Term? A Detailed Policy Agenda Offers Clues
A conservative policy agenda could offer the clearest view yet of K-12 education in a second Trump term.
8 min read
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome Ga.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome, Ga. Allies of the former president have assembled a detailed policy agenda for every corner of the federal government with the idea that it would be ready for a conservative president to use at the start of a new term next year.
Mike Stewart/AP
Federal Opinion Student Literacy Rates Are Concerning. How Can We Turn This Around?
The ranking Republican senator on the education committee wants to hear from educators and families about making improvements.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Biden Calls for Teacher Pay Raises, Expanded Pre-K in State of the Union
President Joe Biden highlighted a number of his education priorities in a high-stakes speech as he seeks a second term.
5 min read
President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on March 7, 2024, in Washington.
President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on March 7, 2024, in Washington.
Shawn Thew/Pool via AP