U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the appointment of Robert Shireman as deputy undersecretary and Massie Ritsch as deputy assistant secretary for External Affairs and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.
In his role, Shireman will advise the Department on college financial issues and other higher education initiatives. A leading expert on college access and financial aid, he previously served as a congressional appointee to the Federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, an advisor to U.S. Sen. Paul Simon and as part of President Clinton's White House National Economic Council. Shireman is founder of the Institute for College Access and Success and the Project on Student Debt. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from University of California at Berkeley and masters' degrees from Harvard in education and the University of San Francisco in public administration.
Ritsch will oversee outreach to education associations, foundations and think-tanks. He comes to the Department from his job as communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics where he served as chief strategist for the organization and, among other duties, oversaw the organization's award-winning Website, OpenSecrets.org. Ritsch also served as vice president of the Sugerman Communications Group in Los Angeles, where he helped salvage public funds for a consortium of innovative schools chartered by the Los Angeles Board of Education, as well as garner support for a universal preschool initiative. Prior to his time at Sugerman, Ritsch covered local education issues and the 2000 presidential campaign for the Los Angeles Times. He received his bachelor's degree in politics from Princeton University.