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Martha Kanter Leaving Higher Ed. Post at U.S. Department of Education

In another high-profile departure from the U.S. Department of Education, third-in-command Martha Kanter, who as under secretary oversaw the federal higher education portfolio, announced today she's returning to academia this fall.

In her goodbye note to staff today, Kanter, a former community college chancellor, wrote: "Serving as your Under Secretary has deepened my understanding and appreciation of what 'service to improve the public good of our nation' really means. The promise and power of delivering good government to our students and families is a tireless, phenomenal effort, often with few external rewards if done honestly, fairly and well."

In her first two years in the job, she oversaw the implementation of the administration's direct student loan program, and has more recently been involved in the push to lower college costs.

Her exact departure date isn't known, nor is her replacement.

She wrote, "Over the next few months, my priority is to ensure seamless transition for the Department until a new Under Secretary comes on board. I remain committed to achieving the goals for our nation's postsecondary students, institutions and communities: access, affordability, quality and completion. I will continue to pursue these ends during this transition period and beyond."

This exodus, which is common in a second term, has the potential to leave some gaping holes in the Education Department's leadership team until their replacements are well established. Mr. Duncan's chief of staff Joanne Weiss, top policy guru Carmel Martin, and press secretary Daren Briscoe have all left in the last several months.

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