The Honorable Arne Duncan
Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Senior Vice President, Advanced Energy Economy
Arne Duncan is the ninth U.S. secretary of education. Duncan served under President Barack Obama from January 20, 2009 through January 1, 2016.
Duncan’s tenure as secretary has been marked by a number of significant accomplishments on behalf of American students and teachers. He helped to secure congressional support for President Obama’s investments in education, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $100 billion to fund 325,000 teaching jobs, increases in Pell grants, reform efforts such as Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation, and interventions in low-performing schools. Additionally, he has helped secure an additional $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs; the elimination of student loan subsidies to banks; and a $500 million national competition for early learning programs. Under Duncan’s leadership at the Department, the Race to the Top program has the incentives, guidance, and flexibility it needs to support reforms in states. The Department also has focused billions of dollars to transform struggling schools, prompting nearly 1,000 low-performing schools nationwide to recruit new staff, adopt new teaching methods, and add learning time.
In support of President Obama’s goal for the United States to produce the highest percentage of college graduates by the year 2020, Duncan has helped secure increases in the Pell grant program to boost the number of young Americans attending college and receiving postsecondary degrees. He has begun new efforts to ensure that colleges and universities provide more transparency around graduation, job placement, and student loan default rates. With the income-based repayment program introduced during Duncan’s tenure, student loan payments are being reduced for college graduates in low-paying jobs, and loans will be forgiven after 10 years for persons in certain public service occupations, such as teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Before becoming secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), a position he held from June 2001 through December 2008. In that time, he won praise for uniting education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening more than 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down underperforming schools, increasing early childhood and college access, dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives. Duncan is credited with significantly raising student performance on national and state tests, increasing graduation rates and the numbers of students taking Advanced Placement courses, and boosting the total number of scholarships secured by CPS students to more than $150 million.
Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, from 1992 to 1998, Duncan ran the nonprofit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative, which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. He was part of a team that later started a new public elementary school built around a financial literacy curriculum, the Ariel Community Academy, which today ranks among the top elementary schools in Chicago. From 1987 to 1991, Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he also worked with children who were wards of the state.
Emma Vadehra began her service as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in July 2013. From 2009 to 2011, she served as deputy assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education, overseeing K-12 education policy development and issues related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
From 2011 to 2013, Vadehra served as chief of staff at Uncommon Schools, a charter school management organization that starts up and manages urban charter schools. Before joining the Department in 2009, she worked as a senior education counsel for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the staff of the U.S. Senate Education Committee, as well as on K-12 education policy, and student loan and national service policy. Vadehra has a juris doctor from Yale Law School and a bachelor's degree from Brown University.
Stephen grew up on the coast of Maine and taught social studies in middle and high schools for ten years. After serving two terms in the Maine Legislature, he joined a Maine-based public policy think tank, where he served as an education policy researcher and analyst. Bowen served for a short time as Gov. Paul LePage’s education policy advisor and was named Commissioner of Education in March of 2011. To advance the governor’s vision of a student-centered educational system, Bowen focused his efforts on key policy areas such as educator effectiveness, state accountability, digital learning, and competency-based instructional practices. Bowen stepped down from the commissionership in September 2013 to join CCSSO as the Strategic Initiative Director for Innovation, where he oversees the Council’s Innovation Lab Network and its other work supporting innovation.
Dr. Lewis Ferebee
Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee began his work with the Indianapolis Public Schools in September of 2013, after serving the previous three years as Chief of Staff for Durham Public Schools. Prior to this, the 16-year education veteran served as Regional Superintendent for Guilford County Schools in North Carolina where he also worked as an instructional improvement officer and school principal. Dr. Ferebee is leading execution of IPS Strategic Plan 2015, a bold vision for transformation and a pathway toward educational excellence for the district. Dr. Ferebee proudly serves the students and families of Indianapolis Public Schools.
Dr. Stefanie Sanford
Stefanie works with policymakers and public institutions to promote excellence and equity in education, particularly on behalf of low-income students and students of color. Stefanie also oversees the College Board’s Communications & Marketing, Policy, and Government Relations departments and the organization’s strategic relationships with foundation partners. She is a member of the board of America’s Promise Alliance and a trustee of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Prior to joining the College Board, Stefanie spent over 10 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, most recently as the director of policy and advocacy for the United States Program. Before joining the foundation, she held several senior policy positions in both Republican and Democratic offices at the state level, and, at the federal level, was a White House Fellow in the Office of Cabinet Affairs. Stefanie has written and spoken extensively on education and technology topics, served as a German Marshall Fellow and as an Education Entrepreneurial Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and is the author of Civic Life in the Information Age: Politics, Technology, and Generation X.
Dr. Marguerite Roza
Marguerite Roza, Ph.D., is the Director of the Edunomics Lab and Research Professor at Georgetown University. Dr. Roza's research focuses on quantitative policy analysis, particularly in the area of education finance. Recent research traces the effects of fiscal policies at the federal, state, and district levels for their implications on resources at school and classroom levels. Her calculations of dollar implications and cost equivalent tradeoffs have prompted changes in education finance policy at all levels in the education system. She has led projects including the Finance and Productivity Initiative at CRPE and the Schools in Crisis Rapid Response Paper Series. More recently she served as Senior Economic Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her work has been published by Education Sector, the Brookings Institution, Public Budgeting and Finance, Education Next, and the Peabody Journal of Education. Dr. Roza is author of the highly regarded education finance book, Educational Economics: Where Do School Funds Go?