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Leslye A. Arsht
Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Education in Iraq
Leslye Arsht's career in communications and education policy has spanned over thirty years. She was a counselor to now U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) during his term as U.S. Secretary of Education. She went on to found StandardsWork, Inc., an eleven year-old non-profit education consulting firm based in Washington, DC., that aids states, school districts, and schools in their education reform efforts. The firm has advised California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maryland and the cities of Chicago and Allentown, PA among others on their academic standards. In particular, Arsht's work has focused on helping parents and other interested adults work constructively with schools. She managed the publication of the best-selling book and CD-ROM Raising the Standard: An Eight Step Action Guide for Schools and Communities (1997, 1998).
Before working at the U.S. Department of Education, she was the associate vice chancellor for news and public affairs at Vanderbilt University. She also served as a deputy press secretary and deputy assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1986 to 1988. Arsht is the chairman of StandardsWork's Board and is a member of the Board of Trustees of both Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire and the Center for Education Reform in Washington, DC.
A native of Houston, Texas, who makes her home in Arlington, VA, Arsht was recruited to be a Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Education in Iraq in July. In addition to helping the Coalition Provisional Authority restart the school system with school rehabilitations and school supplies for teachers and students. Arsht has focused on Master Teacher Training and helping Iraq's new Minister of Education and the Ministry begin to frame the national dialogue on the new Iraqi education system. She is also beginning work on a school partnership program that is academically-driven that will aid individuals or organizations around the world that want to provide financial support or goods to Iraqi schools.