Washington — Martha J. Kanter, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, is President Obama’s pick to be under secretary of education.
Word came this morning from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at a conference of Ohio college presidents.
A formal announcement would come later today, he said, adding, “I hope I’m not breaking any news.”
Ms. Kanter became chancellor of the community-college district — one of the largest in the country — in 2003, after 10 years as president of De Anza College. Previously she was vice president for instruction and student services at San Jose City College and director, dean, and vice chancellor for policy and research in the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office.
She moved to California in 1977 after working as an alternative high-school teacher and setting up the first program for students with learning disabilities at San Jose City College.
While Ms. Kanter is relatively new to federal policy making, she has been active at the state level, serving as president of the Association of California Community College Administrators and in several other associations.
Her appointment is a boon to the community-college sector, which enrolls nearly half of all college students but has often felt underappreciated and overlooked in national policy debates.
George R. Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, said his members would be “thrilled” to have one of their own in such a prominent post.
“I think this administration realizes that community colleges are a real unrecognized workhorse for education and work-force development,” he said.
Indeed, Mr. Duncan told the Ohio conference, which was sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat of Ohio, that community colleges are a “vital, vital part of our postsecondary-education system” and “an extremely important part of restoring our economy and ensuring our students can compete.”
For more on the nomination, see The Chronicle’s Web site tomorrow morning. —Kelly Field