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Education Department , White House Adds New Staff

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was hanging out with Michele all day yesterday in Florida, also found time to name five new staff members to key positions at the Education Department:

*Michael Roark, chief administrative officer, office of the deputy secretary: Previously, Roark worked as chief financial officer for AOL Europe. Back in the early 1990s, Roark worked for Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who is considered pretty liberal on education (and just about everything else).

*Jacqueline Jones, senior adviser for early learning: Jones has been working for the New Jersey Department of Education as an assistant commissioner for the Division of Early Childhood Education. Before that, she worked for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) as a senior research scientist and director of early-childhood research and development.

*Katherine Tobin, deputy assistant secretary for performance and improvement: Tobin served for the past three years as a governor of the U.S. Postal Service. She has also worked as college and university administrator.

"Emma Vadehra, deputy assistant secretary, in the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development: Until recently, Vadehra served as a senior education counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Before that, she worked at Uncommon Schools, a charter-management organization.

*Nia Phillips, deputy general counsel for departmental and legislative services: Philips served as then-Sen. Barack Obama's political director and constituency director for Georgia in the 2008 general election.She also taught 1st grade for three years at a public school in Brooklyn in New York City. Before that, she provided legal counsel for Viacom Inc. and worked as an attorney.

Finally, some non-Department of Ed personnel news: Mary Ellen McGuire, who heads up the New America Foundation's education activities and previously served as a top aide to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is going to work on the White House Domestic Policy Council as a senior adviser for education.

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