Southern Vermont College to Host Roundtables with Area Educators and Special Advisor to U.S. Department of Education

November 5, 2010

Southern Vermont College, which has been working with representatives in the U.S. Department of Education on the President’s 2020 Initiative to get more students to and through college, will host three roundtable discussions with area leaders in education on Wednesday, Nov. 10. The event aims to gather strategies and solutions for promoting student success in higher education in rural settings. Gregory Darnieder, a Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, has been working with SVC President Karen Gross on campus initiatives, and he will lead this educational summit. 

“With the 2020 Initiative, we have pledged to help America regain its place as leader in producing college graduates,” President Gross said. “Our goal with these discussions is to gather information and best practices that can inform how we can improve and promote college access and persistence in Vermont and across the nation. With a newly elected Governor in Vermont, this is an important and timely opportunity to explore strategies that can benefit our state’s young people.” Gross said that Darnieder’s trip to SVC includes travels to other schools and organizations in the Northeast and is part of a larger initiative to listen to the voices of educators across the nation. 

The roundtables will include designated educators from area colleges and high schools as well as guidance counselors from around the region. Participants will share successes in programming for assisting students with entering into college and completing their undergraduate education. The event will conclude that evening with a gathering of heads of regional schools and colleges. Information and feedback garnered from the discussions will be summarized into several white papers, which will be presented to local, regional and national organizations and legislators as well as to the newly formed Vermont Commission on the Pre-K–16 Pipeline. 

Darnieder, a widely respected leader in education, began his career as a teacher, then served as executive director of youth development and college access in organizations and oversaw the Steans Family Foundation philanthropic efforts. He is known for establishing the Department of Postsecondary Education and Student Development at Chicago Public Schools, designing and implementing an assortment of postsecondary, academic, financial and social support programs and building university, corporate and civic partnerships to enhance college access. 

Before becoming Special Advisor to Secretary Duncan and the DOE’s College Access Initiative, Darnieder was director of the newly formed Department of College and Career Preparation for CPS. He has served in leadership roles for several foundations and on over twenty non-profit organization boards. He has a BA in Sociology, a K-8 teaching certificate from St. Louis University and an MA from Wheaton College.