Jim Shelton, deputy secretary at the Department of Education has said that he will leave the government at the end of the year. He joined in March 2009 as assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement and was promoted last year.
Shelton has been known as a thoughtful proponent of innovation but one who has kept students and teachers in the forefront of all issues.
"Jim has been the most important voice for innovation and pitching solutions to complex problems since the beginning of this administration and I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from him. His is contribution to the country has been stellar and-- I know--will continue to be," said Karen Cator, formerly a colleague of Shelton's in the administration and now CEO of nonprofit Digital Promise.
Shelton began his career in education at the Gates Foundation and has also worked with NewSchools Venture Fund.
In a statement, Secretary Arne Duncan said:
"Anyone who has ever worked with Jim Shelton will understand why we’re sorry that he will be leaving the Department. Jim has brought a profound understanding of how to encourage innovation to address some of the biggest challenges faced by our education system and, more broadly, our country. From developing and managing signature reform programs such as the Investing in Innovation fund and Promise Neighborhoods to being a key leader on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and strengthening the Department’s operations as deputy secretary, Jim has helped shape so much of this administration’s education policy, programs and strategy over the last five-and-a-half years."
Shelton is also a realist. In an interview with EdSurge, he noted:
"Anytime we do innovation work, the expectation is that we will hit bumps in the road in terms of how people actually try to accomplish the goal...The desire to get to personalization isn’t to promote one model, but to figure out how we accomplish this goal in a way that is rooted in research. Schools need to make the decisions to ensure the best outcomes for their students..."