« Report: Deportation Fear Grips Immigrant and Refugee Students in U.S. Schools | Main | Study: Language Barriers Can Steer Immigrant Students to STEM Courses »

Betsy DeVos Appoints Interim Leader for Hispanic Education Initiative


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has appointed Andrea Ramirez as interim executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

She is filling the role vacated by Aimee Viana, who is now the principal deputy assistant secretary in the office of elementary and secondary education.

Ramirez is the current executive director of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education, and will serve in both roles until a permanent replacement for Viana is appointed.

Before coming to the education department in January 2018, Ramirez served as the executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation's largest Hispanic evangelical organization.

In her latest role leading the White House initiative, Ramirez will be responsible for coordinating efforts to address the needs of the nation's nearly 13 million Hispanic students.

Shortly after DeVos' confirmation in 2017, Ramirez wrote a Fox News opinion piece urging the new education secretary to "make marginalized children her first priority."

"We all need to work together to craft a vision that trulyfinallyleaves no child behind and ensures every student succeeds," Ramirez wrote.

In her new position, Aimee Viana will serve as the principal adviser to Frank Brogan, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Viana's job is a high-profile, high-responsibility position previously held by Jason Botel, one of President Trump's first education department appointees. During Botel's tenure, he helped oversee the department's implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

In September, Education Week profiled Aimee Viana, and her husband, José Viana, who leads the office of English-language acquisition in the Education Department.

The Vianas, who came to the Ed. Department from North Carolina, have ties to an influential Beltway power couple. José Viana's sister, Mercedes Schlapp, is the director of strategic communications at the White House. Her husband, Matt Schlapp, is the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Related Reading

The Controversial Couple Heading Trump's Hispanic Education Efforts

Jason Botel, One of Trump's Original Education Appointees, to Leave Dept.

Presidential Advisers on Black, Latino, and Asian Students Say Trump Admin. Ignoring Them

Photo: Andrea Ramirez has been tapped by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to serve as interim executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.  -- U.S. Department of Education handout

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more