NEW YORK – Mitt Romney on Tuesday announced a team of education policy advisers that includes former education secretary Rod Paige and other top appointees from President George W. Bush’s administration.

(Mary Altaffer/AP)

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Romney, who is attending a series of fundraisers in New York Tuesday, has not made education policy a focus of his campaign. But he plans to outline what he would do as president in an education policy address in Washington on Wednesday.

Romney is a proponent of expanding school choice – as governor of Massachusetts, he was a charter schools advocate -- and has been an outspoken critic of teachers’ unions.

Romney’s Education Policy Advisory Committee includes several prominent opponents of teacher’s unions, including Paige, who as secretary of education in 2004 labeled the National Education Association a “terrorist organization.”

Announcing the committee, Romney said in a statement: “Our education system is failing too many of our kids, and I look forward to working closely with these leaders to chart a new course that emphasizes school choice and accountability, the importance of great teachers, and access to quality, affordable higher education.”

Here are the advisers and their biographies, as provided by Romney’s campaign:

K-12 Education Co-Chairs:

Nina S. Rees, Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Knowledge Universe; Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education (2002-06).

Dr. Martin R. West, Assistant Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Executive Editor, Education Next.

Higher Education Co-Chairs:

Phil Handy, Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Industries; Chairman of the Florida State Board of Education (2001-07); Twice appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Board of Education Sciences, served as Vice Chairman; Member of the Florida Governor’s Council of 100 (1987-present), Board of Directors, and Chair, preK-14 Education Committee; Director, Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Bill Hansen, Chairman & CEO of Madison Education Group; Chairman & President of Scantron/Global Scholar (2009-11); Deputy Secretary of Education (2001-03); President of the Education Finance Council (1993-2001); Assistant Secretary of Education for Management and Budget & CFO (1991-92); serves on numerous corporate, university, and philanthropic boards.

Workforce Training Co-Chairs:

Dr. Carol D’Amico, Vice President of Project Lead the Way; Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education (2001); Chair of National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity (2004-07); Board Member, Institute for Education Sciences (2003-07); Director, Center on Workforce Development, Hudson Institute, and co-author of Workforce 2020, Published Hudson Institute (1997); Executive Vice President, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (2004-07).

Emily Stover DeRocco, President of the Washington, D.C.-based Manufacturing Institute (2008-present); Assistant Secretary for Employment & Training at the U.S. Department of Labor (2001-08); Senior Advisor to Secretaries of Energy and the Interior (1981-88); holds two University Board of Trustees positions.

Special Advisor:

Dr. Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-05); Dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University, established the University’s Center for Excellence in Urban Education; Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District; 2001 National Superintendent of the Year; Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


John Bailey, White House Domestic Policy Council; Deputy Policy Director to the Secretary of Commerce; Director of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education; currently works with education entrepreneurs, philanthropies, and private sector investors.

Dr. Robert M. Costrell, Professor of Education Reform and Economics, Endowed Chair in Education Accountability, University of Arkansas; Chief Economist, Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2003-06); Education Advisor to Governor Mitt Romney (2005-06).

Christina Culver, President of CH Global Strategies; Acting Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education (2003-06); Co-Author, “Virtual Schooling: a Guide to Optimizing Your Child’s Education.”

Dr. John E. Chubb, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Education Sector; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution.

Dr. Bill Evers, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Education (2007-09); Senior Adviser for Education, Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq (2003); National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board (2001-02).

Scott Fleming, President and Vice Chairman of Madison Education Group; former Senior Vice President at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Scantron; Senior Education Policy Advisor and Professional Staff to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (2002-06).

Julio A. Fuentes, President & CEO of Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (Hispanic CREO). Hispanic CREO’s mission is to improve educational outcomes for Hispanic children by empowering families through parental choice in education.

Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction (2007-present); President of Council of Chief State School Officers (2011-present); Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education

Rod Paige (2003-05); Chair of Idaho’s Assessment and Accountability Commission (2000-02); Chair of Nampa School Board (1997-2000).

Dr. Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, Harvard University; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Editor-in-Chief, Education Next; Member, Independent Review Panel, No Child Left Behind, U.S. Department of Education (2002-06).

Jim Peyser, Managing Partner with New Schools Venture Fund and Chairman of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers; Former Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education (1996-2003); Former Executive Director of Pioneer Institute (1993-2000).

Dr. Herbert Walberg, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution.

Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst, Senior Fellow and Director of the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy; Director of the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences (2002-08); Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education (2001-02); Board of Directors of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2004-07).