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Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier to Open 2011 SharpBrains Summit

We are hon­ored to announce that Dr. Bren­da Dann-Messier, US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion’s Assis­tant Sec­re­tary for Voca­tion­al and Adult Edu­ca­tion, will open 2011 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit next Wednes­day, March 30th, shar­ing Wel­come Remarks with all par­tic­i­pants.

Bren­da Dann-Messier was nom­i­nat­ed by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma as assis­tant sec­re­tary for voca­tion­al and adult edu­ca­tion on July 14, 2009. On Oct. 5, 2009 she was con­firmed by the U.S. Sen­ate and began her offi­cial duties on Oct. 13, 2009.

As the first assis­tant sec­re­tary for the Office of Voca­tion­al and Adult Edu­ca­tion (OVAE) who is also an adult edu­ca­tor, Dann-Messier leads the Department’s efforts in adult edu­ca­tion and career and tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion, as well as efforts sup­port­ing com­mu­ni­ty col­leges and cor­rec­tion­al edu­ca­tion. She over­sees the admin­is­tra­tion of 11 grant pro­grams in these areas, total­ing approx­i­mate­ly $1.9 bil­lion annu­al­ly. Dann-Messier is com­mit­ted to col­lab­o­ra­tion, both with­in the Depart­ment and across fed­er­al agen­cies, includ­ing work­ing with the U.S. Depart­ments of Labor, Agri­cul­ture, Health and Human Ser­vices, Home­land Secu­ri­ty and Com­merce.

OVAE’s vision is for all youths and adults to have mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties to obtain life­long edu­ca­tion and train­ing in order to achieve reward­ing careers and fam­i­ly lives, par­tic­i­pate in their com­mu­ni­ties, and attain their per­son­al goals. OVAE is devot­ed to equip­ping youths and adults with the lit­er­a­cy, numer­a­cy, lan­guage and tech­ni­cal skills and the train­ing nec­es­sary for suc­cess in the 21st-cen­tu­ry glob­al econ­o­my, by expand­ing capac­i­ty, improv­ing qual­i­ty, and increas­ing account­abil­i­ty through inno­va­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

From 1993 to 1996, Dann-Messier worked for the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion under Sec­re­tary Richard Riley, serv­ing as the secretary’s region­al rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Region I, which includes Con­necti­cut, Maine, Mass­a­chu­setts, New Hamp­shire, Rhode Island and Ver­mont.

Pri­or to return­ing to the Depart­ment, Dann-Messier served for a decade as pres­i­dent of the Dor­cas Place Adult and Fam­i­ly Learn­ing Cen­ter, a com­mu­ni­ty-based adult edu­ca­tion agency based in Prov­i­dence, R.I. Under her lead­er­ship, Dor­cas Place expand­ed to serve more than 1,000 adults statewide through a range of pro­grams, includ­ing day and evening adult basic edu­ca­tion, adult sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, Eng­lish for speak­ers of oth­er lan­guages, and GED class­es. Dor­cas Place also offers Eng­lish lit­er­a­cy and civics, and finan­cial lit­er­a­cy edu­ca­tion, fam­i­ly lit­er­a­cy, col­lege prepara­to­ry pro­grams, and sec­tor-based work­force edu­ca­tion and job train­ing pro­grams linked with employ­ers and indus­try, includ­ing sec­tor-based career acad­e­mies. She also estab­lished the Devel­op­men­tal Edu­ca­tion Insti­tute for read­ing and math, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege of Rhode Island.

Dor­cas Place was one of only ten sites in the nation to receive a five-year, fed­er­al Full Ser­vice Com­mu­ni­ty Schools grant to estab­lish school-based fam­i­ly lit­er­a­cy and sup­port ser­vices at five inner city ele­men­tary schools in Prov­i­dence, RI. That same year the agency opened the Rhode Island Wel­come Back Cen­ter, one of only sev­en pro­grams in the nation to help for­eign-trained health pro­fes­sion­als enter the health care work­force.

Dann-Messier earned her B.A. in his­to­ry and sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, plus a teach­ing cer­tifi­cate, at  Rhode Island Col­lege, and went on to com­plete her master’s in instruc­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy with anoth­er cer­tifi­cate in adult basic edu­ca­tion. Dann-Messier received her Ed. D in edu­ca­tion­al lead­er­ship, with a dis­ser­ta­tion ana­lyz­ing access to high­er edu­ca­tion for wel­fare recip­i­ents, from John­son and Wales Uni­ver­si­ty.

The daugh­ter of immi­grants seek­ing new oppor­tu­ni­ties in Amer­i­ca, Bren­da Dann was born in West Orange, N.J., to a Ger­man father and an Ital­ian moth­er. At age 6 months, she moved with her fam­i­ly to War­wick, R.I., where she grew up. The assis­tant sec­re­tary and her hus­band, Daniel Messier, a retired mid­dle-school sci­ence teacher, reside in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. They have two sons—Dana, an air­line pilot with Delta Air­lines who lives in St. Louis, Mo., with his wife and daugh­ter, Anna, and Cur­tis, an assis­tant teacher who is work­ing on a master’s in ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion at Hunter Col­lege in New York City.

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To learn more about the US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion: click Here.

To learn more about 2011 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st): click Here.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness, Technology

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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