Libby Doggett. Photo: U.S. Department of Education
Libby Doggett. Photo: U.S. Department of Education

Strategies for Children congratulates Libby Doggett on her new appointment as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education.

Libby will lead the Office of Early Learning within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE).  OESE jointly administers the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge program with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She is expected to start her new job later this month.

We had the pleasure of working with Libby while she was the director at Pre-K Now, the Pew Foundation’s 10-year campaign to advance high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds.

Now, we look forward to working with her again to ensure that children in Massachusetts have access to high-quality early education.

“President Obama and Secretary Duncan both recognize that by expanding access to high-quality early learning programs, we can begin eliminating the opportunity gaps that confront far too many American children even before they even enter kindergarten,” Libby said in an education department announcement. “I’m thrilled to be a part of such an important turning point in our nation’s education system.”

It is indeed an exciting time. The president has called for a bold effort to expand early learning programs for four year-olds from low- to moderate-income families through a new state/federal partnership. Libby will work closely with the White House to promote this plan.

In addition, the federal government is holding a second Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition, according to a press release. Some $370 million will be available for “states to develop new approaches to increase high-quality early learning opportunities and close the school readiness gap.”

Libby’s professional experience has prepared her well. Her most recent job was as director of the Pew Home Visiting Campaign, which “partners with state policy makers and other leaders to promote effective state policies and investments in quality, home-based programs for new and expectant families,” according to Pew’s website.

She has also taught in a bilingual first grade classroom in Texas. In the mid-nineties, she served as the education department’s special assistant to the director of special education and as executive director of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council. And in 1999, she was hired by the National Head Start Association to direct the HeadsUp! Reading program, a credit-bearing course delivered through satellite technology that trained early childhood professionals to teach children to read and write.

 Libby is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a Ph.D. in early-childhood special education.

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