Kent Talbert was appointed on Jan. 23, 2018 by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as senior policy advisor to the deputy secretary. He is a Washington, D.C. – based attorney with over 30 years' experience in providing legal and policy advice on issues pending before Congress and the U.S. Department of Education, and in the private sector.
In January 2013, he established the law firm of Kent D. Talbert PLLC to offer legal advice to colleges and universities, accrediting agencies, the K – 12 sector, charter school organizations, professional and trade associations, and others in the education arena.
His legal and strategic advice to clients has been in the context of such education laws as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Prior to establishing his firm, Talbert practiced education law at Talbert & Eitel, PLLC from 2010 to 2012. He served as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Education from 2006 to 2009, advising the secretary of education on a broad range of legal matters, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and education policy issues arising in district and appellate courts as well as in Supreme Court litigation. During his tenure as general counsel, Talbert's role encompassed service as the chief regulatory officer for the Department, overseeing the clearance of all regulations and other documents sent to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.
Prior to his service as general counsel, Talbert served as the Department's deputy general counsel for the Departmental and Legislative Service from 2001 to 2006. Earlier in his career, he served for over 12 years on the House and Senate staffs, both as education policy counsel for the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a professional staff member of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources (now Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) in the U.S. Senate.
Talbert is member of the Bars of the District of Columbia and South Carolina. While in private practice, he served on several committees of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. He has authored or co-authored papers on certain aspects of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and all federal courts in South Carolina and Washington, D.C.
Talbert received his bachelor's degree in history magna cum laude at Erskine College (South Carolina) and his juris doctor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.