President Biden is poised to name a top New York City schools official to a senior administration role focused on reopening the nation’s schools, according to two officials familiar with the discussions.
The administration is in discussions with Mary Wall, currently chief of staff to the New York City Department of Education and a former education policy adviser in the White House and Department of Education during the Obama administration. She would work with the president’s COVID Response Team and newly confirmed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on meeting Biden's stated goal of returning students in grades K through 8 to full-time schooling by the end of his first 100 days.
The White House has been considering naming a schools reopening czar who would serve as the point person on an issue that has become a top priority for the president. A White House official said Wednesday that no final decision has been made about such a role or whom would serve in it.
New York’s school system is one of the nation’s largest, with 1,800 public schools serving 1.1 million students. The city was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and city and state officials were often at odds with if and when to reopen city schools last fall.