Dr. Rod Paige
Former U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-2005)
On January 21, 2001, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Rod Paige as the 7th U.S. Secretary of Education. For Paige, the son of a principal and a librarian in public schools, that day was the crowning achievement of a long career in education. Born in 1933 in segregated Monticello, Mississippi, Paige's accomplishments speak of his commitment to education. He earned a bachelor's degree from Jackson State University in his home state. He then earned both a master's and a doctoral degree from Indiana University.
Paige began working with students early in his career as a teacher and a coach. He then served for a decade as dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University (TSU). In this position, Paige worked to ensure that future educators would receive the training and expertise necessary to succeed in the classroom. He also established the university's Center for Excellence in Urban Education, a research facility that concentrates on issues related to instruction and management in urban school systems.
Elected in 1989, Paige was sworn in as a trustee and an officer of the Board of Education of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) in January 1990, in which capacities he served until 1994. In 1994, Paige left TSU to become superintendent of HISD, the nation's seventh largest school district. Inside Houston Magazine named Paige one of "Houston's 25 most powerful people" in guiding the city's growth and prosperity. In 2001, he was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.
During his tenure as Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education from 2001 to 2005, Paige was a fierce and innovative champion of education reform who led the way in setting new standards of achievement for all students in our education system. He spearheaded the implementation of the historic No Child Left Behind Act, with its goal of reinvigorating America's education system.
Paige is also an active member of several highly respected boards, including the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, The Broad Foundation, the American College of Education, the New England College of Finance and Business, the National Council on Economic Education’s Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, and is a former board member of News Corporation. After he left the administration in 2005, Paige served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. There he was able to explore a more global perspective of education. As he said: "Civilizations rise and fall depending upon the quality of education."