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Ann Whalen Returns to Education Department as Senior Adviser

By guest blogger Andrew Ujifusa

Less than a year after leaving the U.S. Department of Education, Ann Whalen, formerly one of U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan's key staffers, is returning as a senior adviser. 

In her new role, Whalen will take on the responsibilities of the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. That post was most recently held by Deborah S. Delisle, who left the department earlier this year to become the executive director of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). 

After six years working at the Education Department, Whalen left last year to work for Education Post, a communications firm headed by Peter Cunningham, formerly Duncan's messaging expert.  

During her time at the Education Department, she had most recently led its Implementation and Support Unit. Her work at the department covered, among other initiatives, Race to the Top state-level competitions, Race to the Top assessments, and Race to the Top districts. She's also overseen School Improvement Grants and the Teacher Incentive Fund. 

"Ann's six years at the department involved working in partnership with states to ensure that all students are prepared for college, careers and life—and we are eager to have her continue that work in this new role," a department spokeswoman, Dorie Nolt, said in a statement discussing Whalen's return to the department. "Ann has spent her career as a true champion for students—both in Chicago Public Schools and at the federal level—and we are excited she is returning to the Obama administration to continue that work."

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