A familiar face to lead ACE

Incoming ACE President Ted Mitchell visited Florida’s Valencia College last year as U.S. under secretary of education. Photo: Valencia College

Ted Mitchell, who served as under secretary of education from 2014 to 2017 under the Obama administration, was named on Thursday as the new president of the American Council on Education (ACE), an umbrella organization of several higher education associations.

Mitchell — whose career includes serving as president of a private liberal arts college, senior administrator at a state university and trustee of a major research institution — assumes the post on September 1, replacing retiring Molly Corbett Broad, former University of North Carolina president, who has led the council since 2008.

Higher education advocates cite Mitchell’s experience and accomplishments across the sector, as well as his longstanding focus on helping more students gain access to a postsecondary education and complete their degrees.

“Ted Mitchell brings a constellation of skills to the presidency of the American Council on Education,” Judy C. Miner, ACE’s board chair and chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District (California), said in a statement. “We very much appreciate Molly Corbett Broad’s leadership over her tenure and are fortunate to have found someone of Ted’s vision, commitment and in-depth knowledge across the spectrum of American colleges and universities to lead ACE into its centennial year and chart a course into the future.”

Several community college leaders said it’s welcoming knowing ACE’s incoming leader has a vast understanding of their institutions.

“On behalf of the nation’s community colleges and personally, I am thrilled to welcome Ted Mitchell to ACE,” Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), said in a statement. “AACC and ACE have a long-standing strong and powerful partnership that champions America’s students. We are so grateful to Molly Broad for her leadership and friendship.  I am confident that together with Ted and our colleagues at ACE, we will continue to advance the status of education policy in Washington, D.C.”

As under secretary, Mitchell oversaw policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, adult, career and technical education, federal student aid, five White House Initiatives — Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Educational Excellence for African Americans, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and American Indian and Alaska Native Education— and the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

After concluding his service at the U.S. Department of Education, Mitchell served as a consultant to ACE in the areas of education attainment and innovation, and leadership development.

Prior to becoming under secretary, Mitchell was chief executive officer of the NewSchools Venture Fund from 2005 to 2014, which provides seed capital and counsel to leading education entrepreneurs at the K-12 level, and served as the president of the California State Board of Education. Those posts exemplify Mitchell’s commitment to use innovation across the spectrum of elementary, secondary and postsecondary education levels and forge K-16 connections to increase college attainment rates in this country, according to ACE.

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