Education leader Margaret Spellings named
president of George W. Bush Foundation

Former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is the new president of the George W. Bush Foundation.

Margaret Spellings

Margaret SpellingsDALLAS (SMU) --  Margaret Spellings, the former U.S. Secretary of Education who encouraged SMU’s leadership in education reform, was named as president of the George W. Bush Foundation June 6.

Spellings was the keynote speaker at SMU’s announcement that it was establishing a school of education and human development, which in 2007 was named in honor of Annette Caldwell Simmons, an SMU alumna and former teacher.

“When it comes to doing what works, SMU is among the best in the world,” Spellings said in 2005 when the school was formed. “I’m confident that your new school will graduate not only some of the most talented teachers in the profession, but also some of the most prepared for real-world classrooms.”

At the Bush Foundation, Spellings succeeds Mark Langdale, who will remain as a member of the Foundation board of directors, and James K. Glassman, the Bush Institute’s founding executive director.  Spellings will oversee both the foundation and the institute.

“SMU has worked with Margaret Spellings on important education issues such as teacher preparation, and we look forward to welcoming her to her new home on SMU’s campus,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Turner also expressed appreciation for the work of Langdale and Glassman during the formative years of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU.

“Both Mark Langdale and Jim Glassman have been true pioneers in leading development of the Bush Center,” he said. “Mark organized the foundation and led its successful campaign to raise funds for construction, programs and endowment of the Bush Center, culminating in the dedication April 25 that captured the attention of the world.

“Jim Glassman took President Bush’s idea of an independent institute and brought it to reality. In doing so, he provided opportunities for involvement of SMU faculty and students and partnerships with several academic departments. With support from the Bush Foundation, the Institute’s focus on education, global health, freedom and economic growth is engaging scholars from diverse backgrounds on issues of interest to us all, regardless of political views.”

“SMU owes a great debt of gratitude to the leadership of these two individuals,” Turner added. “We are pleased that they will continue to provide their expertise as advisers to the Bush Center and that Margaret Spellings will join them as valued members of our University community.”

Spellings was recognized in 2009 as an inaugural recipient of the Simmons Luminary Award, which honors individuals or organizations that have shown an extraordinary commitment to improving people’s lives through education.

At the time of her award, Simmons Dean David Chard credited Spellings for her vision for rethinking education in the U.S. “(She) had the opportunity and the courage to move an accountability system from concept to national priority” during her years as Secretary of Education and White House Domestic Policy Advisor during the George W. Bush Administration.