Bush Education Leader Joins Neag School of Education
By Janice Palmer, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- John MacDonald, assistant secretary of
elementary and secondary education during the first Bush
administration has joined the University of
As professor in residence at the Neag School of Education,
MacDonald's prime goal is to establish a center for educational
policy and leadership, which will
provide unbiased information to schools and government leaders
throughout Connecticut and the northeastern states.
"Jack is a person of incredible integrity and experience and has
achieved universal respect from Democrats and Republicans alike,"
says Richard Schwab, dean of
the school. "By joining us, he's in a position to share his immense
experience, knowledge and connections with the next generation of
education leaders and with
our faculty. We're thrilled to have him on board!"
MacDonald, who had been considering retirement, says one
reason he accepted the position was because "The Neag School of
Education has one of the
strongest teacher training programs in the country."
MacDonald's career as an educator has spanned more than
40 years. He began as a teacher in the Groton public schools then
became a principal. He served as
superintendent of schools in Wallingford and in two Massachusetts
school districts. In 1986, he was appointed Commissioner of
Education for the state of New
Hampshire, serving under governors John Sununu and Judd Gregg.
Nearly four years later, he was beckoned to the nation's capitol to
become a principal advisor
to the Secretary of Education on all elementary and secondary education issues.
When the Bush presidency ended, MacDonald was asked to join
the Council of Chief State School Officers - a nonpartisan advocacy
and service organization
representing the nation's state education commissioners. On behalf
of the council, MacDonald established the State Leadership
Center, which provides
information and direct technical assistance to school leaders
and policymakers in every state. As its director, MacDonald
crisscrossed the country to help
education leaders develop standards, goals and programs for
improving their schools.
"We brought them the information and resources they needed by
designing teams of experts to meet their specific demands," he says.
Now his mission is to work with Sharon Rallis and Mark Shibles,
professors of educational leadership, to establish an education policy
center at UConn.
"We'll maintain good currency on good practice, but a
big part of this center will not be just the paper. We'll have
the experts who can help implement it," he
says. "Land grant universities are uniquely suited to do this.
If we do not have the expertise on a particular subject matter here
at UConn, we have access to
people at other institutions."
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