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Education Department Picks New Leader for Early-Learning Office

By guest blogger Christina Samuels, cross-posted from the Early Years blog

Libby Doggett, most recently the director of the home visiting initiative at the Pew Charitable Trusts, has been named the head of the U.S. Department of Education's office of early learning, the second person to hold the post in office's two-year history.

As deputy assistant secretary for policy and early learning, Doggett is expected to help oversee the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant program, which has distributed $633 million among 14 states. A third grant competition is expected this fall.

The department said in a press release Tuesday that Doggett will also work to promote the administration's proposal to distribute $75 billion to the states to bolster high-quality state prekindergarten programs. The proposal also would include increased investments in home-visiting programs and in Head Start, which is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. One portion of the proposal, $750 million in new money to help improve preschool quality, was recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Before Doggett's work with Pew Charitable Trusts, she was the director of Pre-K Now, a Pew-funded campaign that advocated for high-quality preschool programs. That project lasted from 2002 to 2011. She was also special assistant to the director of special education and executive director of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council in the 1990s, and in 1999, she worked for the National Head Start Association, directing a program that provided long-distance learning opportunities for early-childhood providers.

Doggett is expected to begin at the Education Department Aug. 26.

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