Judith A. Winston, Under Secretary and General Counsel—Biography
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Black and white photo of Judith A. Winston, Under Secretary and General Counsel

Judith A. Winston was sworn in as General Counsel to the U.S. Department of Education in June 1993. She manages a staff of over 100, including more than 80 attorneys. The Office of General Counsel interprets laws affecting Department operations, drafts and reviews regulations and legislation, represents the Department in litigation, and advises the Secretary on policy issues. The Office also manages the Department's ethics and regulations programs.

In 1997, President Clinton asked Winston to head the President's Initiative on Race, where she served as Executive Director until September 1998. The Race Initiative engaged many diverse groups, communities, regions and various industries in a search for understanding the causes of racial tension in our country. Through thoughtful study, constructive dialogue, and positive action, the Race Initiative addressed the continuing challenge of how Americans can live and work together more productively.

Winston resumed her leadership as General Counsel to the Department of Education in January 1999.

In March 2000, the President named Winston the Acting Under Secretary for the Department of Education. As Acting Under Secretary, Winston works with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on management policy and operations, and represents the Department on the President's Management Council. As a principal advisor to the Secretary, Winston also works with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on strategic initiatives that help define a broad, coherent vision for achieving the National Education goals and the Secretary's priorities.

Previously, Winston served as an Associate Professor of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. where she taught civil procedure and civil rights courses. She also worked as a lawyer on a variety of civil rights, race, and gender equity issues.

Formerly, she was the Deputy Director for Public Policy at the Women's Legal Defense Fund in Washington, Deputy Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Assistant General Counsel for Educational Equity at the U.S. Department of Education. She was Executive Assistant and Legal Counsel to the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Special Assistant to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights in the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Winston has received a number of honors and citations, including the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award, recognizing her lifetime commitment to the cause of civil rights. She has served on numerous boards and committees and has authored many articles on civil rights, employment discrimination, and women of color in the workplace.

Winston is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University. She was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey and attended public schools there and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She is married to Michael R. Winston, an historian, President of the Alfred Harcourt Foundation, and former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Howard University. They have two daughters.

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Last Modified: 03/02/2011