Jim Shelton, the deputy secretary and second in command at the U.S. Department of Education, will resign his government job by the end of the year, department officials said Wednesday.
Shelton, 47, has held several posts at the department since joining the agency in 2009 and has had a significant influence over the agency’s policies. Shelton ran the department’s innovations program and was a force behind its Promise Neighborhoods, a grant program that gives “cradle to career” help to students in selected poor communities.
Shelton grew up in Washington, the son of a cab driver and a federal worker. He attended Gonzaga High School and won a full scholarship to Morehouse College , a historically black college in Atlanta. He earned a master’s degree in education and an MBA from Stanford University.
He worked at McKinsey & Company as a consultant and later at the New Schools Venture Fund, a non-profit venture fund that invests heavily in charter schools and educational technology companies. He also co-founded LearnNow, a charter school management company that was bought by Edison Schools.
Shelton also worked as a program director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before joining the federal education department to work on issues of school choice and educational technology. The Gates Foundation has forged a close relationship with the U.S. Department of Education and Shelton was one of several people at the agency with ties to the foundation.
Critics of the department’s policies, including its promotion of charter schools and technology point to Shelton and other like-minded advisers to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.. . . .