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.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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