President Trump named José Viana assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) on April 12, 2017. He is the principal adviser to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on all matters related to the education of English learners, now estimated to be about 10 percent of the total k-12 public school enrollment nationwide.
As head of OELA, Viana administers programs under Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which support high-quality instruction for linguistically and culturally diverse students. The office also supports professional development programs for teachers of English learners.
Viana is committed to ensuring improvement in English language education through the Department's initiatives. Under his stewardship, Viana will guide OELA towards realizing its mission and vision "to provide national leadership in EL education by advancing opportunities for educational excellence and equity for English learners and their families."
Prior to joining the Department, Viana served for eight years as an administrator of the Migrant Education Program for North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction. The mission of that program is to help migrant students and youths meet high academic standards by overcoming obstacles due to frequent moves, educational disruption, cultural and linguistic differences, and health-related problems. During that time, Viana also served as the vice-chair of the Governing Board for the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program.
Viana began his career in Miami-Dade County Public Schools as an elementary school teacher for English language learners and later was a humanities instructor at an International Baccalaureate World School. The International Baccalaureate Organization aims to develop knowledgeable young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Concurrently, Viana prepared and delivered general teaching skills sessions to Florida International University's undergraduate students receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in education in all levels and content areas.
After acquiring his certification in educational leadership in 2006, Viana became an elementary school administrator for Durham (North Carolina) Public Schools, where he established the districtwide Title I Parent Advisement Committee for Hispanics to help ensure that Latino children from low-income families met challenging state academic standards.
Viana is a second-generation Cuban immigrant who started his primary years as an English language learner. The magnificent teachers he encountered in his early learning inspired him to become an educator. Viana has devoted his life to improving educational opportunities for minority populations and is honored to serve our nation's English learners and their families.
Viana and his wife, Aimee, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, have three children. Viana also manages to find time in the evenings to prepare high school students from China for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).