Improving Education with Barack Obama

She is Barack Obama's assistant secretary of education today — but Brenda Dann-Messier has worked to improve access to higher education since her days as a graduate student at Johnson & Wales University.

In fact, her doctoral dissertation for JWU's Educational Leadership Doctoral Program was on that very topic.

Brenda Dann-Messier, asst secretary of education under the Obama administration

New Role with US Education Department
Now, Dann-Messier is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's principal advisor.

Her focus: High school, career, community college, technical and adult education.

She also represents the department at national and international meetings related to vocational and adult education.

Clinton Administration Experience
This is Dann-Messier’s second post with the United States Department of Education.

During the Clinton administration, she served as Secretary Richard Riley’s regional representative in Boston.

Lifelong Career in Education  
Previously, Dann-Messier served as president of Dorcas Place Adult & Family Learning Center in Providence. The center provides educational and job placement services, college preparatory classes and family literacy programs for welfare recipients. 

Dann-Messier also worked at the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University.

She is a member of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, and chairs the Academic and Student Affairs subcommittee for the board.