Smithsonian Names Monique Chism Under Secretary for Education

May 14, 2021
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Dr. Monique Chism. Credit: American Institutes for Research.

Monique Chism has been named the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Education, effective June 7. A former teacher, state education administrator and senior staff member at the U.S. Department of Education, Chism brings 24 years of experience in the field to the role.

As Under Secretary for Education, Chism will be responsible for defining the Institution’s educational priorities. She will oversee the Smithsonian’s collective initiatives, communication strategies and funding for programs that benefit learners of all ages.

Chism currently serves as vice president for education policy and strategic initiatives at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Since 2017, her leadership has helped bridge the divide between education research and practice at the local, state and federal levels. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chism created a 35-state coalition to respond to educators’ distance learning needs and strategize school reopenings.

Prior to her time at AIR, Chism worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2013 to 2017. Her positions spanned the Office of Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs, the Office of State Support, and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. At each level, Chism advised on the expansion of academic access, equity and development. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, she managed a $22 billion grant portfolio and led teams focused on promoting academic excellence and enhancing educational opportunities for all U.S. children and families.

Chism holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, both in interpersonal and public communication, and a doctorate from Michigan State University in American studies.

Chism succeeds Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar, who has served as acting Under Secretary for Education since November 2019. Neuhold-Ravikumar will be the acting director of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

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