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Governor Taps Reiss as Secretary of Education

February 26, 2010

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of Bonnie Reiss as Secretary of Education on Tuesday.

“Bonnie Reiss is a dynamic and driven advocate for public education in California.  She is a proven ally in upholding the academic standards that make our public university system the best in the world,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am confident that as Secretary of Education, Bonnie will fight to expand the educational opportunities available to all of our students and improve the accountability and efficiency of our public education system to ensure California's students are able to achieve their fullest potential.”

Since 2007, Reiss has served as operating advisor to Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm committed to investing in and developing scarce resources, commodities and sustainable companies.  Previously, she served as senior advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2003 to 2007, where she advised the Governor on all major policy initiatives, including education, the environment and children's issues.  From 1994 to 2003, Reiss served as founding president of the Inner-City Games Foundation, later renamed After School All-Stars.  In 1988, she founded the Earth Communications Office where she led the effort to use media for public awareness campaigns of environmental issues until 1993.  Reiss' experience includes careers as an entertainment lawyer, accountant, producer and writer from 1981 to 1988.

Reiss has served on the University of California Board of Regents since 2007. She serves on the board of directors for After School All-Stars and the Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women.  In 2007, Reiss received the William S. White Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Education for her advocacy in the area of public education and, in 2006, she received the Advocate of the Year Award from the University of California Student Association.  From 2004 to 2006, Reiss served on the California State Board of Education.

“I enthusiastically support the Governor's priorities for education and his commitment to seeing that every child receives a great education that allows them to achieve their dreams,” said Reiss. “I believe that every door opened to me in my life has been because of education, and I am committed to working to ensure that all children have the tools they need to achieve success.”

Reiss, 54, of Los Angeles, earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Antioch Law School and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami.  This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,000. Reiss is a Democrat.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell quickly congratulated Reiss on her selection by Governor Schwarzenegger as Secretary of Education.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Bonnie Reiss as she takes on this new role,” O’Connell said. “Bonnie is knowledgeable about the challenges and opportunities faced by public education during these difficult economic times. With her leadership, the collaboration between my office and the Governor’s Office of Secretary of Education will continue as we work together to implement education reform efforts and secure critical federal funding for California schools.”

Source:  Governors Press Office, California Department of Education