Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday announced the names of personnel who will serve in key leadership positions at the Education Department, a move that comes after she spent the first two months of her tenure operating with a skeletal beachhead team.
Serving as chief of staff is Josh Venable, who worked on former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign and for Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. DeVos served on the board of the foundation, which sought to export the Florida model of education reform to other parts of the country.
DeVos’s senior counselor is Robert Eitel, who has been working on the beachhead team while on leave from his job as general counsel for Bridgepoint Education, an operator of a for-profit college that was recently investigated by the department. The Education Department’s inspector general determined in February that Bridgepoint owes the department a $300,000 fine for miscalculating the refund of federal aid provided to students, according to a regulatory filing. The company can appeal the inspector general’s audit, but department officials have said Eitel will have no role in the matter because he has recused himself from all matters related to the company.
Company spokeswoman Marianne Perez said he has had no input on company business and no work-related communications with employees during his time at the department.
James Manning, a longtime Education Department employee who helmed Trump’s transition effort at the agency, is senior adviser to the undersecretary and — for now — acting undersecretary. Traditionally, the undersecretary leads the department’s work on higher education issues. Manning was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and later served in George W. Bush’s education department as acting head of civil rights and postsecondary education. More recently, during the Obama administration, he was acting chief operating DeVos announces Education Department hires - The Washington Post: