Diane Auer Jones serves as principal deputy under secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, she is delegated to perform the duties of under secretary and assistant secretary for postsecondary education.
Jones’ 30-year career in science and education policy began when she became a laboratory director and biology instructor at the Community College of Baltimore County. She then moved on to hold senior leadership roles at Princeton University and the Career Education Corporation.
Jones also brings to the Department extensive experience in public policy, having served as a program director at the National Science Foundation, as a professional staff member and acting staff director for the Research Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, and as the deputy to the associate director for science at the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy. In 2006, Jones was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate to serve as assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.
While serving as assistant secretary, Jones became interested in the need to expand postsecondary education options, including through apprenticeship programs. Over the next decade, she authored a number of papers about the importance of apprenticeship opportunities and served for two years as a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. In that role, she co-led a project to develop occupational frameworks for apprenticeships in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, information technology, cyber security, transportation, and other areas. Jones returned to government service in 2017 to serve as a senior policy advisor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, and then moved back to the Department of Education to serve as a senior policy advisor before transitioning to her current role.
Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry and a Master of Science in applied molecular biology. She has also completed the coursework required for a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology. She completed an apprenticeship-style cooperative education program in high school to become a certified nursing assistant and worked in that role for six years. She also completed a certificate program in massage therapy.
In addition to her work in education and public policy, Jones owned a natural and gourmet food store and an alternative health and wellness center, and she co-owned an environmental biotechnology company. She and her husband have two adult children.