Nearly six months after the presidential election, the Education Department is still riddled with “acting” officials, and Secretary Arne Duncan is losing some of his key aides.
Deputy Secretary Tony Miller is departing within the next month, according to Acting Press Secretary Daren Briscoe, and Assistant Secretary Carmel Martin, who ran the office of planning, evaluation and policy development, is gone as of this week.
With these departures, Duncan is losing some of his closest aides. Martin has been pivotal in policy for years, overseeing a number of key department programs, including the controversial waivers that were offered to states to relieve them of the most onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind in exchange for implementing special department-approved reforms.
Jim Shelton, assistant deputy for the office of innovation and improvement, will take Miller’s place in an “acting” capacity, and Shelton’s deputy, Nadya Dabby, will be named acting assistant secretary for the innovation office. Replacing Martin is Denise Forte as acting assistant secretary.
Other officials acting in an “acting” capacity, according to a list and information provided by Briscoe, include Seth Galanter, acting secretary of the office for civil rights; Richard Culatta, acting director of the office of educational technology; Massie Ritsch, acting assistant secretary director of communications and outreach; John Brown, acting director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Marco Davis, acting executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
Why are there so many acting officials?
In terms of staffing, Briscoe said, “this is still very much an administration transitioning between terms,” adding that the process to confirm political appointments, “takes time.”
Apparently. Peter Cunningham, who was close to Duncan as assistant secretary for communications and outreach, marked his last day on Nov. 30, 2012.
(Corrections: First version misspelled Daren Briscoe’s first name; fixing title of White House Initiative)