Andy Mink
Under Secretary for Education

Andy Mink

Director, Rural Initiatives

Andrew T. Mink (Andy) is the director of the Smithsonian’s Rural Initiative. He provides leadership in shaping and growing the initiative in order to establish the programmatic and operational infrastructure necessary to execute pan-institutional collaborations that expand the reach of the Smithsonian’s resources, expertise and programming.

He joins the Office of the Undersecretary of Education after seven successful years as the vice president of education at the National Humanities Center (NHC). Recognized as the world’s only fully independent non-profit research center for humanities scholars, the center lacked a comprehensive education program. Under his leadership, the NHC served nearly 4 million K–12 and post-secondary educators in all 50 states and internationally each year through a variety of virtual and in-person programs and events.

Mink began his career in higher education in 2001 when he was hired as the director of education and outreach with the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia. As access to digital resources transformed education, he worked throughout the nation to provide professional development that integrated emerging educational technology into hands-on, inquiry-based instruction.

He later served as the executive director of LEARN NC in the Peabody School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This non-profit center provided educators with collaborative long-distance learning and teaching opportunities with a focus on teacher leadership, inquiry-based instructional design and place-based education models. This work capitalized on the emergence of Open Education Resources to address issues of equity and access in rural and underserved communities of the state.

After earning degrees in history from the University of Virginia and the University of South Carolina, he taught in a public middle school in central Virginia for 10 years. Mink has been named National K–12 Educator of the Year by the National Society of Experiential Education and Outstanding Support for Geography Education by the National Council for Geography Education during his work as an educator. He is currently listed as a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians. 

Finally, Mink is a dedicated service leader. He has served on numerous local, regional and national Boards of Directors, including multiple terms on the National Council for the Social Studies, National Council for History Education and North Carolina Outward Bound School.

This background and wide-ranging set of professional experiences inform his deep commitment to community-based education.

A native of rural eastern Virginia, he lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his partner, Monica, and two children.