By Nicole Zappone | Staff Writer
HARTFORD — President-elect Joe Biden is considering Dr. Ann Marie Adams for U.S. Secretary of Education, according to White House sources.
Dr. Adams is the only current teacher in the running. She’s been trusted by her teachers to teach thier classes since she was 10-years-old. She was an ESL teacher during undergraduate and graduate years. Now, she is a U.S. History Professor in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. She is also an English Composition and ESL tutor.
Biden and his campaign staff began vetting Adams, a gifted teacher, in July 2015 when she was a White House Correspodent, according to White House sources. They began early, sources said, because Adams was not a known educator or a staunch politician. And they wanted business-minded educators like her in the job pool, according to sources familiar with the process and from Sen. Kamala Harris’ camp.
Adams is a lifelong learner. As an educator, entreprenuer, and exemplar, she helped revised the No Child Left Behind reauthorization bill when she worked in the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s Education Office in 2008 and 2009.
Before that, Adams was a national award-winning education reporter for several news publications in Connecticut, New York and Washington, D.C. And she was an ESL and English Composition teacher before she became a U.S. History professor at Rutgers University.
She is currently an adjunct professor in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, while working as editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian, the first hyper-local, non-profit, non-partisan news publication in New England and the tristate area.
“I’m excited about being selected to be a contender for the U.S. Secretary of Education,” Adams said. “
She also added that with her background in academia and business, as well as her local ties as an educator and journalist, this offer to serve puts her in a different and exciting category.
“I truly want to make a difference in the pre-K through 12 curriculum and restoring normalcy to schooling in America,” Adams said. “The world is watching to see how we lead during these uncertain and unprecedented times.”
As a White House Correspondent under former presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, Adams was a notable journalist and educator whose business acumen made her a star in the beltway when she was at Howard University. There, she collaborated with the President’s office at Howard University, the World Bank and the United Nations.
A spelling-bee champion, chess player and flawless writer, Adams impressed the Washington, D.C. elites and the Hartford community. Moreover, Adams has a deep knowledge of government and has solutions to intractable problems such as the achievement gap, locals said.
“Dr. Adams is an extraordinarily intelligent and brilliant person. Her academic background is impressive. She is extremely well credentialed,” said Connecticut Superior Court Judge Eric Coleman, a former state senator, who represented Bloomfield, Hartford and Windsor. Coleman has known Dr. Adams for about 20 years. “Her academic achievements are a reflection of her drive and determination as well as her ability. She possesses very effective communication skills. Also, she is an accomplished writer and speaker.”
Adams, Coleman said, is a strong candidate for the role of Education Secretary.
“In my considered opinion, Dr. Adams’ maturity and life experience combined with her natural talents, her intellectual curiosity, her discipline, her stamina and her capacity to work hard leave her well prepared to be extremely successful,” Coleman said.
Since 2004, Coleman and others in Hartford have also supported Dr. Adams as the editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian, the first nonprofit, nonpartisan, hyperlocal news publication in New England and the tristate area.
As a veteran education reporter in Connecticut, New York and Washington, D.C., Dr. Adams lends a keen eye to education policy and practice. As a noted speaker, author and teacher, she has championed Black and Latino Studies since the 1990s to address structural inequality, including the achievement gap. In 2014, locals rally behind Dr. Adams’ belief and recently pushed a bill in the Connecticut General Assembly to make Black and Latino studies mandatory for the first time in Connecticut.
Others in the mix so far include Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel A. Cardona, former dean emeritus of the Howard University School of Education Leslie T. Fenwick, and former president of the National Education Association from 2014 until this year: Lily Eskelsen García.
Cardona, Garcia and Fenwick’s rabid supporters, including former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Sen. Chris Murphy, have been invading Adams’ privacy since 2014 to sabotage and maim her with unorthodox devices.
The experience has left Adams wondering whether other candidates were approached this way during the vetting process. That’s because the effort to sabotage included identity theft and fraud to discredit Adams as a strong candidate for Education Secretary.
So far, Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody, Assistant Police Chief Rafael Medina and Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection James Rovella have been notified about proper and adequate security for Adams until the Biden-Harris transition team selects finalists.
Additional reporting by Gordon Shirley.