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Trump’s Education Team

February 13, 2017

The person or persons selecting participants for the Education Transition Team were more familiar with persons who served in the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush. At a time when higher education in a Trump Administration needs professionals who have been critical of education policies of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, Trump gave decisive control of Education appointments to holdovers from the era of Margaret Spellings.

Some of this may be attributed to inexperience. For example, until Betsy DeVos’ nomination was confirmed, the White House left a career Educrat in charge of the Department. Phil Rosenfelt, Acting Education Secretary, has been described as “a career Educrat who has worked as general counsel for the department for 40 years.” What’s wrong with that?  Would you put a fox in a hen house? Rosenfelt’s experience and instincts are rooted in policies that define the failure of Education in the United States. He should not have been designated as “Acting Education Secretary.”  Why wasn’t a “political” appointee placed in that positio

Jason Botel, senior White House adviser for education, executive director of the Maryland education advocacy group MarylandCAN, has a long history of supporting Common Core.

Josh Venable, chief of staff, worked on Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), founded by Jeb Bush.

Jim Manning, a Bush and Obama administration “Educrat,” was praised by David Bergeron, a Department of Education careerist, for keeping the trains running and on time.  Bergeron was formerly responsible for Obama policies designed to destroy for-profit higher education.

Andrew Kossack, former commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue and an alumnus of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The list of Trump Education appointees indicates that the Trump campaign is placing some campaign staff in Education Department positions. That’s what campaigns should do, but this first lineup of appointments gives no indication that knowledge of “education” was a criterion for placement:

  • Derrick Bolen, recent Liberty University graduate, former Trump campaign regional field director for Virginia’s Roanoke and New River Valley region
  • Debbie Cox-Roush, Trump Inaugural committee and Hillsborough, Florida Republican leader. Special assistant to the Secretary of Education.
  • Kevin Eck, former director of operations for the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association.
  • Holly Ham, Program Adviser – Data Operations, Trump for President campaign
  • Beatriz Ramos, Florida’s “coalitions director” for the Trump campaign
  • Amy Jones, Former CEO of Professional Development and Accountability at NYC Department of Education.
  • Patrick Shaheen, field director for both the NH Republican State Committee and Americans for Prosperity.
  • Eric Ventimiglia, worked as a legislative aid and constituents relations manager for the Michigan House of Representatives.


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