WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced more political appointees that will lead various parts of the agency. These diverse and accomplished individuals will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the agency, and work to quickly advance key education priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration.
Levi Bohanan, Special Assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Levi Bohanan previously served in the Obama administration at the U.S. Department of Education, where he worked in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs and the Office of the Secretary. Most recently, he served as a policy entrepreneur at Next100, a progressive public policy think tank created by the next generation of policy leaders, where he focused on early childhood education policy and P-12 education policy. He holds degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University and Texas A&M University.
Amy Loyd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (serving as Acting Assistant Secretary)
Amy Loyd, Ed.L.D., has an extensive background in education and the nonprofit sector, and has designed and led programs across the United States that improve education and workforce outcomes for people and strengthen communities. Most recently, Dr. Loyd was a Vice President at Jobs for the Future, where she led the organization’s programs in college and career pathways that span K-12 and postsecondary education and training into the world of work; in workforce development with a lens on economic advancement; in state and federal policy; and in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She previously was the Director of Education at Cook Inlet Tribal Council, leading a network of schools and programming providing comprehensive, culturally responsive education, training, and wraparound services to the Alaska Native and Native American communities. Dr. Loyd holds a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College and a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she is an adjunct lecturer focused on using career pathways to increase opportunity and equity.
Rachel Bird Niebling, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs
Rachel Bird Niebling most recently worked at the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) as the Director of Policy Development and Federal Government Relations. Prior to joining All4Ed, she served as the Education and Healthcare Policy Advisor for Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Delaware) and before that, as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. Edward E. Kaufman (D-Delaware). Prior to her work in the Senate, Niebling was a Policy Analyst at the Strong American Schools’ ED in ’08 campaign, a project to raise awareness about education issues in the 2008 presidential campaign cycle. She also has served as a middle school science teacher in Philadelphia. She holds a master’s degree in education policy studies from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and education from the University of Florida.
Alexander Prowda, Confidential Assistant, Office of Communications and Outreach
Alexander Prowda joins the Communications and Outreach team after serving as Communications Associate in Arizona with the Biden campaign and working on the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California (USC) during which time he interned at the NFL and Creative Artist Agency. During his time at USC, Prowda played an active role with Troy Camp, an organization committed to youth education and mentorship.
Jorge Santiago, Confidential Assistant, Office of the Secretary/Office of the Deputy Secretary
Jorge Santiago most recently worked in operations for the Florida Democratic Party in coordination with the Biden for President campaign. Prior to joining the Florida Democratic Party, he worked as Field Director on a congressional campaign in South West Florida. Santiago also previously worked on Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign as a Scheduling Assistant, Operations Assistant, and Field Organizer. He is a graduate of the University of Florida.
Nick Simmons, Senior Advisor for School Reopening and Recovery, Office of the Secretary
Nick Simmons most recently served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for the State of Connecticut and Policy Advisor to Gov. Ned Lamont. As Policy Advisor, Nick designed, led, and coordinated key policy initiatives for the Lamont Administration with a particular focus on educational equity, workforce development and economic development. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Simmons served as lead from the Governor’s office for coordinating with Connecticut’s Department of Education and Department of Public Health to safely reopen K-12 schools, to close the K-12 digital divide, and support students with remote learning. He began his educational career in Harlem, New York, serving as a seventh-grade math teacher, assistant-principal and acting school leader. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a master of business administration from Harvard Business School, and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.
Rachel Thomas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications, Office of Communications and Outreach (serving as Acting Assistant Secretary)
Rachel Thomas is an experienced communications leader in campaigns, government, public policy, and business. Previously, she served as Northeast Communications Director for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, where she oversaw the communications strategy and teams across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, including Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Communications Director for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign and Beto O’Rourke’s presidential bid. Rachel formerly led communications at ACRONYM, and prior to that was a member of the External Relations team at IBM, where she built award-winning campaigns elevating the company’s leadership across the globe. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Communication and Public Service.
Serena Walker, Confidential Assistant, Office of Communications and Outreach
Serena Walker most recently interned with the Biden-Harris campaign for the Committee for Joe, which brought together professionals to address the campaign’s highest priorities. In May 2021, she will graduate from Georgetown University with a major in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Cognitive Science. She has experience in the classroom both as a Seminar Course Assistant at Georgetown University and as a volunteer Spanish-English reading tutor in a public bilingual school in Virginia. In addition, she has been involved with fundraising, working for CASA of Travis County as the Superhero Run Intern and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Children’s Bridges Teen Leadership Council and as their Community Engagement Intern.
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