Former U.S. Education Secretary Lamar Alexander has been named the Roy M. and Barbara Goodman Family Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Service at the Kennedy School of Government, Dean Joseph S. Nye Jr. announced.
While at the Kennedy School, Alexander’s focus will be on education, politics, and the American character. The former governor of Tennessee and former president of the University of Tennessee, Alexander will assemble student and faculty working groups on topics in education policy, as well as work on a larger project on the ideas and principles that form the American character. Alexander will also teach a course this spring on the American presidential campaign.
“Because of his wealth of experience in education and his commitment to public service, Alexander will serve as an inspiration to our students,” Nye said.
A candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000, Alexander is now chairman of Simplexis, a San Francisco based company that helps schools save money by making purchases online. He is a board member and active investor in several other companies. Alexander lives in Nashville where he is chairman of the Salvation Army Initiative, which helps families move from welfare to work.
“This is an unexpected and delightful opportunity to work on the ideas I care about the most,” Alexander said.
Under Alexander’s leadership as governor between 1979 and 1987, Tennessee became the third-largest automobile producer, the state with the fastest-growing family incomes, and the first state to pay teachers more for teaching well. As U.S. Education Secretary, he helped former President George Bush push for higher academic standards and developed the “GI Bill for Kids,” creating federal scholarships to provide children with more choices of schools. The Education Commission of the States has presented Alexander with the James B. Conant Award, which annually honors an individual for outstanding service to national education.