Duncan’s Team

February 21, 2009 | Blog

Linda Darling-Hammond may not be joining Team Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education (TWIE/Politics K-12), but Jo Anderson is — as a senior advisor to the Secretary.

Who is Jo, you ask? Well, folks in Illinois know him very well as the executive director of the Illinois Education Association, a post he’s held since 2005. I’ve gotten to work closely with him over the past three years through the New Teacher Center’s work on a statewide teacher induction policy committee in the Land of Lincoln.

Jo is a dynamic presence and a thoughtful advocate for public education. He’s also the type of guy who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. He won’t let Washington or a big title at the USDoE go to his head. In addition, Jo sees the big picture as well as understanding that policy details matter. He’ll serve Secretary Duncan well.

Plus, he’s a fellow Boston College grad. Go Eagles!

Here’s a brief bio on Jo for those of you who want to know more about him:

Jo Anderson Jr.
In November of 2005, Jo Anderson Jr. was named executive director of the Illinois Education Association. IEA is an association of 120,000 members composed of Illinois elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty and staff, educational support professionals, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers.

Prior to becoming executive director of the IEA, Anderson was director for the IEA-NEA Center for Educational Innovation, a center created to facilitate school restructuring and reform efforts throughout Illinois. The center serves as a catalyst for positive changes in education and provides Illinois Education Association locals with the resources, expertise, and motivation to experiment with school restructuring.

Anderson has facilitated collaborative negotiations in over 60 situations in Illinois and other parts of the country. He has extensive experience in innovative negotiating processes such as win-win and interest-based bargaining. He is also a founder and facilitator of the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC), a network of 50 school districts throughout the Chicago suburbs that are working collaboratively to restructure and improve their schools. He has presented an array of training programs and workshops in Illinois and other parts of the country in the areas of collaborative labor-management relationships, professional unionism, and educational change.


UPDATE — March 12, 2009 — Three weeks later, here is Secretary Duncan’s official announcement of Jo Anderson Jr.’s appointment. And here is reaction from Teacher Beat.


  1. Reply


    March 10, 2009

    If you support these core initiatives:

    -Effective, empowered teachers and school leaders;
    -Student assessments that stress 21st century skills;
    -Universal access to high-quality early education;
    -A safe, healthy learning environment; and
    -Affordable college for all students.

    Let Obama know! visit EDVOTERS.ORG and sign the petition.

  2. Reply


    April 6, 2009

    President Barack Obama said last week Illinois would get about $3 billion over the next several years for public education as part of his effort to jump-start the flagging economy, including $964 million this spring to cover most of the remaining payments the state owes local districts for this school year.

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