US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
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Office of the Secretary & Deputy Secretary

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Executive Management Staff Functional Statement

The Immediate Office of the Secretary (OS) provides direct advisory and logistical support to the Secretary. Senior staff positions in OS include the Chief of Staff (COS), Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Programs, Senior Advisor, and the White House Liaison.

The COS provides overall direction and guidance to the OS staff, works closely with the White House on a wide variety of policy matters coming before the Secretary, and represents the Secretary's views in contacts with senior officials within and outside the Department.

The Senior Advisor acts on behalf of the Secretary with senior Department leaders in developing and executing effective management approaches; oversees how the Department invests in and administers grants; ensures the Department's human capital is developed to support the grant-making approach on an ongoing basis; identifies key organizational vulnerabilities and develops and executes effective approaches to manage risks across the Department's programs, grants, loans, contracts, and related services. The Senior Advisor leads critical change efforts across the Department, serves as Chair of the Executive Management Team, and governs the Management Improvement Team.

In performing its responsibilities, the Immediate Office of the Secretary:

  • Provides advice on a wide range of policy matters and issues.
  • Maintains White House liaison on personnel and scheduling matters and on sensitive political issues.
  • Supervises Federal advisory committee establishment and operating procedures and coordinates the provision of administrative services.
  • Coordinates the processing and placement for all appointments for non–career and advisory council positions.
  • Responds to appropriate inquiries concerning the Secretary's views and positions.
  • Reviews communications going to the Secretary for signature or information to assure that the Secretary's specific interests, viewpoints, and policy are properly reflected.
  • Prepares and coordinates the preparation of all speeches and comments for the Secretary's use, and arranges for all substitutes when the Secretary is unable to be present at a function external to the Department.
  • Carries out priority assignments and special projects for the Secretary.
  • Coordinates and conducts, in cooperation with the Office of Inspector General, the development of advance security planning and surveys involving risk analysis for the Secretary's speaking engagements and travel, and provides a security presence at all official social functions attended by the Secretary.

The Immediate Office of the Secretary provides overall direction and leadership to the following major elements:

Executive Management Staff;
Scheduling and Advance Staff;
Executive Secretariat;
International Affairs Office; and
Office of Educational Technology


Executive Management Staff

The Executive Management Staff provides administrative and management services for the Office of the Secretary, Office of the Deputy Secretary, Office of the Under Secretary, the Office of Communications and Outreach, and the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. The Executive Management Staff is responsible for: the development, execution, and monitoring of administrative and program budgets; establishing priorities and schedules for procurement; development of internal administrative policies and operating procedures; monitoring contracts and grants; human resources management; providing leadership in identifying Department–wide management problems and solutions; information technology, telecommunications and office equipment services; management analysis; office space planning and utilization; travel authorizations and reimbursements, etc.
The Staff is also responsible for the coordination of emergency preparedness activities as they relate to the Secretary's Continuity of Government responsibilities. The staff serves as the point of contact for the White House in all matters relating to the Secretary's role as a presidential successor.

In performing its executive management responsibilities, the Staff:

  • Reviews and comments on administrative policy directives from the Office of Management (OM); and implements management procedures and directives from other ED offices, OMB, OPM and other Federal agencies.
  • Prepares briefing and background materials on controversial management and administrative matters for client offices' consideration and prepares and/or coordinates responses as appropriate.
  • Represents client offices in matters regarding government–wide management requirements, and assesses the implementation of procedures for such requirements within the Department.
  • Establishes administrative policies and operating procedures and makes recommendations to client offices on administrative matters.
  • Provides all administrative services for the employees in the Offices it is responsible for (i.e., space planning, human resources, property inventory control, travel, supplies, health and safety, small purchases, contracts, budget, information technology, etc.).
  • Develops priorities for procurement, develops the annual procurement calendar, reviews and approves procurement requests for adherence to client offices' priorities and to the financial operating plan.
  • Represents its client offices in all matters regarding contracts. Coordinates the development of request for proposal documents; monitors and reviews contract performance; serves as liaison with Contracts and Acquisition Management, and maintains grant and contract tracking systems.
  • Formulates and presents the annual budget and personnel target level request for its client offices and develops annual fiscal operating plans. Approves all obligations and expenditures, maintains control of personnel target levels and performs all financial execution functions including analyses of monthly document reports and status of funds reports. Exercises management control over funds and performs fiscal analyses to ensure financial resources are sufficient to carry out program planning, budget, and evaluation missions. Monitors budget levels for its client office budget units and takes necessary steps to avoid funding deficiencies. Provides budget reports and management advice to the various organizations serviced regarding spending levels and future program plans. Serves as liaison between its client office budget units and the Department's Budget Service and OCFO in all matters regarding office's budgets and financial transactions.
  • Establishes and administers a gift fund account as well as the Secretary's reception fund.
  • Establishes systems for monitoring home-to-work transportation afforded to the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary, as appropriate, and prepares reports regarding tax implications.
  • Develops and implements interagency agreements, including agreements with the Department of State regarding foreign travel and staff located at State Department embassies.
  • Develops systems of workload indicators and work measurement as required for management analyses; assesses the personnel needs of subordinate units; and advises client offices on organizational structures and staffing patterns required to carry out the mission.
  • Designs management mechanisms within its client offices to ensure effective and efficient workflow. Establishes administrative policies and procedures and makes recommendations to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary on administrative relationships among subordinate units.
  • Reviews, analyzes, and assists in developing organization and reorganization proposals to ensure a rational and efficient organizational structure. Ensures that staffing patterns and requests for positions do not exceed established target levels. Prepares recommendations for decision by the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, and its other client offices on reallocation of positions if justified by information provided in the proposal. Exercises oversight responsibility for ensuring that internal controls in the area of staff resources management operate effectively.
  • Coordinates personnel and assignments with the respective Chiefs of Staff on sensitive recruitment and placement plans throughout the Department including necessary controls over the Departmental security clearance process. Works closely with the White House Liaison on political appointments in its client offices as well as sensitive actions throughout the Department.
  • Operates the personnel management system for its client offices, including recruitments, selections, promotions, transfers, terminations, employee development, performance appraisals, target level control, awards, and security investigations. Develops or reviews position descriptions and functional statements. Reviews all performance agreements and appraisals to assure adherence to Departmental policies, directives, and regulations, and ensures their timely completion.
  • Maintains the employee tracking system and serves as payroll liaison.
  • Provides advice, information, and assistance on labor and employee relations matters including grievances, employee discipline, and remedial actions.
  • Develops plans for client office space usage, coordinates facilities management, and maintains an asset management tracking system.
  • Designs systems to meet client office needs in the areas of information management, telecommunications, and office equipment. Recommends purchase of new equipment. Serves as liaison with the Office of the Chief Information officer regarding all technology matters.
  • Responsible for records management and Freedom of Information Act functions for certain organizations.
  • Serves as custodian of classified documents for client offices. Staff ensures that proper protocols are followed, and secure phones and related equipment is maintained.


Scheduling and Advance Staff

The Scheduling and Advance Staff is responsible for meeting the daily information needs of the Office of the Secretary and for managing the logistics and advance work for the Secretary's travel and public appearances.

In performing its responsibilities, the Staff:

  • Manages all aspects related to the Secretary's travel and public appearances.
  • Receives and schedules requests for speaking engagements.
  • Clears and plans the agenda for Secretarial appearances and coordinates the advance work related to travel and logistics.
  • Coordinates the preparation of briefing materials for the Secretary, assuring the Secretary is briefed in advance of daily meetings and trips. This responsibility entails:

    • Determination of the information needed for each activity and management of the data collection process.
    • Analysis of the information provided and preparation of briefing materials.
    • Preparation of briefing materials for the White House for Presidential and Vice Presidential trips and meetings.
    • Preparation of regular reports on the activities and initiatives of the Department for the White House including the Weekly Calendar of Agency Events and the Monthly Listings of ED Major Accomplishments.


Executive Secretariat

The Executive Secretariat is the focal point in the Department of Education for tracking all correspondence and documents flowing to and from the Offices of the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary.

In performing the responsibility of document control the immediate office of the Executive Secretariat:

  • Maintains a computerized tracking system to ensure timely preparation of reports and completion of assignments which includes information and action memoranda for decisions by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary;
    • mandated obligations including Congressional reports, bill reports to Congress and OMB, budget reports to OMB, and interagency agreements;
    • regulatory documents; and
    • assignments from the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary.
  • Manages a computer tracking system, which produces regular status reports for the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary on the status of assignments. Follows–up on related assignments and documents to ensure that the responsible office is functioning in a timely manner.
  • Compiles correspondence in signature books the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary. Ensures that format and style are consistent with the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary requirements.
  • Ensures Executive Secretariat staff in each Principal Office are familiar with processes and formats, and for formats for documents and correspondence sent to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary.
  • Receives all regulatory documents and all decision and information memoranda for Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary action. Reviews these to ensure that the proper format is followed and logs documents into the computer system and prepares computer-tracking form.
  • Conducts special projects at the request of the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary.

Correspondence and Communications Control Unit

In performing its responsibilities for correspondence control, the Unit:
  • Reviews all incoming correspondence to for Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary including correspondence referred by the White House and other Federal agencies, and determines the method by which each piece of correspondence should be handled by the Department.
  • Assigns responsibility for necessary action on all correspondence to the appropriate ED component.
  • Follows up on each piece of correspondence to assure that the office responsible for handling it does so in a timely manner.
  • Produces regular reports on the status of their correspondence for the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary.
  • Determines and enters pertinent information on all correspondence and assignments into the appropriate computerized control system for the purpose of tracking.
  • Types all final responses to correspondence for the Secretary's, the Deputy Secretary's, or the Under Secretary's signature after review and editing.
  • Operates the Secretary's autopen machine, ensuring security in its use.
  • Processes and dispatches all correspondence signed by for Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary.
  • Maintains the Secretary's, Deputy Secretary's, and Under Secretary's official files, historical records, and archives.
  • Prepares responses to correspondence whenever letters do not require the expertise of another ED component and forwards incoming correspondence as appropriate to other Federal agencies for response.


International Affairs Office

The International Affairs Office is responsible for advising the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the Under Secretary, and Senior Officers on international issues and initiatives that may affect U.S. education and/or ED policies and programs. The Office ensures that the Department's growing international commitments are fulfilled.

In performing its responsibilities, the Office:

  • Plans analytic and comparative education studies and projects.
  • Develops ED policy regarding international activities and initiatives.
  • Develops and implements (in cooperation with other ED Principal Offices and other agencies) agreements with selected other countries in the field of education, as well as ED involvement in international organizations in the field of education.
  • Develops substantive briefing packages, talking points, and other documents for ED Senior Officers' participation in international initiatives and briefs the Secretary or other Senior Officers.
  • Coordinates GPRA work on ED international programs.
  • Coordinates and reviews the Department's international travel plan as well as all Principal Office requests for ED foreign travel.
  • Develops and maintains an ED International Education Web Site and responds to requests for information on U.S. education from foreign sources, and on foreign education systems from U.S. sources.
  • Arranges for visits by foreign educators, government officials, journalists, and others to ED.
  • Maintains the security and distribution of classified documents provided to ED by the Department of State.
  • Administers the U.S. Network for Educational Information, a specialized information service dealing with international educational exchange issues.
  • Supports and coordinates the involvement of Principal Offices in international activities and projects and initiatives.
  • Works with other federal agencies, international organizations, educational associations, and ministries of education of foreign governments on cooperative projects and programs in international education.


Office of Educational Technology

The Office of Educational Technology, mandated by Part C of Title II of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (Public Law 103-227), provides leadership to the nation in the use of technology to promote achievement of the National Educational Goals.

The Office is headed by a Director who reports directly to the Secretary.

In performing its responsibilities, the Office:

  • Reviews all program and training functions administered by the Department and recommends policies in order to promote increased and effective use of technology and technology planning throughout these programs and functions.
  • Reviews all relevant programs supported by the Department to ensure that such programs are coordinated with, and support the long-range technology plan developed pursuant to section 2422 of the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Develops and publishes a National Long-Range Technology Plan that supports the overall national technology policy, and updates the plan as necessary.
  • Coordinates or participates in joint activities in support of national technology policy with other Federal departments and agencies, such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Labor.
  • Works with educators, State and local educational agencies, and representatives of the private sector to facilitate effective use of technology in education.
  • Provides assistance to the States to plan effectively for the use of technology in the schools.
  • Conducts a biennial assessment of, and issues a report to the public regarding, the uses of technology throughout the United States.
  • Serves as an approval authority for grants awarded under the following sections of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-382): Part A, Technology for Education of All Students, Subpart 2 - State and Local Programs for School Technology Resources, Section 3132; Part A, Subpart 3 - Regional Technical Support and Professional Development, Section 3141; Part B -Star Schools Program, Section 3204.
  • Conducts a study to evaluate, and reports to the Congress on, the feasibility of several alternative models for providing sustained and adequate funding for schools throughout the United States so that such schools are able to acquire and maintain technology-enhanced curriculum, instruction, and administrative support resources and services (Part A, Subpart 1, National Programs for Technology in Education, Section 3123).
  • Provides assistance to statewide telecommunications networks in accordance with Public Law 103-382, Section 3210, Other Assistance.


Last Modified: 06/14/2019