U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan today announced the appointment of Alejandra Ceja as the new director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The Initiative is tasked with expanding academic excellence and improving educational opportunities for Hispanics by making recommendations to President Obama and Secretary Duncan.
"Alejandra is a trusted advisor and leader in the Hispanic community," Duncan said. "As director of this important initiative, Alejandra will continue her exceptional work of pursuing academic excellence and opportunities for Hispanics across the country."
To prepare America's next generation, President Obama has set a goal to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Improving education opportunities for Hispanics will be central to achieving that goal. From increasing the graduation rates of Hispanic students to encouraging community engagement across the country, Ceja will work to address the critical issues surrounding the educational achievements of Hispanic citizens.
"I look forward to advancing the mission and goals of the Initiative and to helping prepare Hispanics achieve their potential academically, professionally, civically, and globally," Ceja said. "We've got a lot of work to do because ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to seek an academic degree is vital to our country's success."
Ceja previously was Chief of Staff for Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter. She also served as Senior Budget/Appropriations Advisor on the House Education and Labor Committee. Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Ceja was Program Examiner for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she helped comprise the federal budget for the Department of Labor and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Ceja is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Alumnae Association, the National Urban Fellows, the National Hispana Leadership Institute, and a graduate of the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program.
Though Ceja is a native of Huntington Park, Calif., her family's roots trace back to Michoacan, Mexico.
Ceja received her MPA in Public Administration at Baruch College, City University of New York and her BA in Political Science at Mount St. Mary's College in California.