Ted Mitchell, the former president of Occidental College, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as undersecretary of the Department of Education, in charge of issues affecting colleges and universities.
After leading Occidental from 1999 to 2005, Mitchell has been chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, an Oakland-based nonprofit that seeks to improve urban schools.
Mitchell also had been president of California's State Board of Education and a dean of UCLA's graduate school of education, and held positions at Stanford and Dartmouth universities.
The Senate unanimously confirmed Mitchell last week. He will replace Martha Kanter, who served as undersecretary for five years and also has a California background as past chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
"Ted Mitchell has worked to foster innovation that benefits all students, especially those in underserved communities, in areas ranging from higher education to teacher preparation to education technology," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.