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Nina Shokraii Rees, Deputy Under Secretary for
Innovation and Improvement
Nina S. Rees leads the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) at the U.S. Department of Education, overseeing the administration of approximately 28 grant programs. The office supports education innovation, broadly disseminates the lessons learned from these programs and helps to make strategic investments in promising educational practices. It also provides leadership for efforts in the areas of parental options, information and rights. Working with the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rees also coordinates the implementation of the public school choice and supplemental services provisions of the president's No Child Left Behind Act.
Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Education, Rees was a deputy assistant for domestic policy in the office of Vice President Cheney, where she also worked on the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Prior to joining the White House in January 2001, Rees served as an education adviser to the Bush presidential campaign and helped draft the No Child Left Behind education blueprint for the Bush-Cheney transition team. She also served as a senior aide on the education platform committee at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
From 1997 to 2001, she served as the chief education analyst for The Heritage Foundation. She was the foundation's lead author and spokesperson on education and worked closely with members of Congress and state legislatures on policy proposals aimed at reforming federal education programs and aiding disadvantaged students. She has testified before Congress on a number of education issues, including the benefits of school choice for low-income students.
Prior to joining The Heritage Foundation, Rees served as director of outreach programs at the Institute for Justice and as a policy analyst at Americans for Tax Reform. She spent two years on the staff of Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., while earning her master's degree in international transactions from George Mason University. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Rees has been a frequent media commentator on education issues. Her articles and views have appeared in various national newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She has also appeared on CBS's The Early Show and Evening News, CNN's Inside Politics and Lou Dobbs Tonight, C-Span's Washington Journal, Fox Morning News, Fox News Channel's Special Report and The O'Reilly Factor, and PBS's The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.
Rees is fluent in French and Persian.