News Column

Bush Nominates Three Hispanics to Education Commission

June 4, 2002
President George W. Bush

President George W. Bush nominated three Hispanic leaders to serve on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. The president intends to appoint Grammy-Award winning artist Jon Secada, NASA Astronaut Fernando (Frank) Caldeiro and New Mexico Tech research head Van D. Romero. The trio joins 17 members of the commission named in January 2002. Enedelia Schofield, principal of W.L. Henry Elementary School in Hillsboro, Ore., was also nominated to serve as co-chair of the commission.

"These individuals are distinguished role models whose leadership and commitment will help us meet the challenge of leaving no child behind," said Secretary of Education Rod Paige. "Ensuring that every child has an opportunity to excel academically so they may live their own American dream is a fundamental right in this country. I look forward to working with these new members and the entire commission to make this vision a reality."

Born in Havana, Cuba, Latin pop recording artist Jon Secada is considered a pioneer musician of the Latin fusion sound. A resident of Miami since the age of nine, Secada's music has sold nearly 20 million albums worldwide.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astronaut Fernando (Frank) Caldeiro was raised in New York. He entered NASA as a cryogenics and propulsion systems expert for safety and mission assurance in 1991. NASA selected him as an astronaut candidate in 1996, and he now serves as lead astronaut for European-built station modules.

The third appointee, Van D. Romero, is vice president for research and economic development at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology where he serves as director of the Geophysical Research Center and acts as an external advocate and representative for New Mexico Tech's research activities.

The Presidentıs Advisory Commission, authorized by Executive Order 13230 in October 2001, is charged with creating a multiyear action plan aimed at closing the educational achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers. The plan will highlight models of success that will help improve achievement among Hispanic students through coordinated efforts among parents, community leaders, business leaders, educators and public officials. Recommendations will also include ways to improve on and measure Hispanic participation in federal education programs.

"President Bush has made it clear that no child will be left behind in our effort to help all children be successful students," said Leslie Sanchez, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. "We look forward to working with the commission as it develops an unprecedented action plan aimed at benefiting our entire community."

The individuals selected by President Bush represent a variety of backgrounds, including education, business and community service. Members include: Frank Hanna of Atlanta, Ga. (co chair); Patricia Janette Mazzuca of Philadelphia, Pa.; Micaela Alvarez of McAllen, Texas; Christopher Jeffrey Barbic of Houston, Texas; Jose Guadalupe Canchola of Tucson, Ariz.; Jaime Alfonso Escalante of Roseville, Calif.; Charles Patrick Garcia of Boca Raton, Fla,; Norma Sanchez Garza of Brownsville, Texas; Alexander Gonzalez of San Marcos, Calif.; Miguel Angel Hernandez, Jr. of Seabrook Texas; Jose Eugenio Hoyos of Dale City, Va.; Francisco Jose Paret of Palo Alto, Calif.; Altagracia Ramos of Beavercreek, Ohio; Ofelia Saenz Vanden Bosch of Houston, Texas; Rene Vasquez of San Juan, P.R.; and Octavio Jesus Visiedo of Coral Gables, Fla.

Secretary Paige serves as an ex-officio member of the commission, as does Hector Barreto, administrator, Small Business Administration; Paul O'Neill, secretary, Department of the Treasury; and Mel Martinez, secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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