Monique M. Chism is the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Education and is responsible for establishing the Institution’s educational priorities. She oversees the Smithsonian’s collective initiatives, communication strategies and funding for programs with the goal of bringing the Smithsonian into every classroom in America.
Chism is an accomplished and transformative leader with an extensive background in education. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this role. Her interdisciplinary training in history, sociology and education provides her with a unique perspective that focuses on the intersections of ideas, theories and approaches to support collaboration. Chism’s experience as a former teacher, state education administrator and federal education policymaker gives her a diverse lens and a deep understanding of the education landscape.
Before joining the Smithsonian in 2021, she served as vice president for education policy and strategic initiatives at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. Chism led teams in translating social science research into policy and practice.
As the deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs at the U.S. Department of Education from 2013–2018, she was a principal advisor to the secretary of education and assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. She managed a $22 billion grant portfolio and provided direction to six program offices, playing a crucial role in shaping pre-K–12 education policy. Prior to joining the Department of Education, Chism made significant contributions to the Illinois statewide system of support as the assistant superintendent for innovation and improvement at the Illinois State Board of Education.
Chism holds a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio University, a Master of Arts from Central Michigan University and a doctorate from Michigan State University. Additionally, she is a graduate of the School for the Creative and Performing Arts high school in Cincinnati, where she majored in dance and theater.
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