Washington, DC – Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center announced former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will join the organization as its new president and CEO. As a veteran leader who has forged strong relationships on both sides of the aisle, she has decades of experience finding common-sense solutions to improve the lives of American families.
“I am thrilled to lead the Bipartisan Policy Center,” said Margaret Spellings, incoming president and CEO of BPC. “It is a consequential and much needed place for ideas, solutions, and action. I look forward to building on the strong foundation laid by the founders, board, and staff and know that collectively we will continue to make a difference for our country.”
“I join the BPC Board in welcoming Margaret Spellings as the new president and CEO,” said Henry Cisneros, BPC board chair. ” After a nationwide search, we have found the perfect individual to lead the Bipartisan Policy Center into an exciting new era. Secretary Spellings brings to BPC a lifetime of public service, expertise in policy areas that align with our mission, and strong leadership skills.”
As president and CEO, she will guide the organization’s strategic direction and priorities, promote BPC’s policy recommendations, and be the chief steward of BPC’s bipartisan ethos and mission to help policymakers work across party lines to craft bipartisan solutions. “In a unanimous vote, the BPC Board of Directors approved the appointment of Margaret Spellings as our next CEO,” said Kelly Darnell, interim CEO of BPC. “The board’s vote illustrates our excitement over having such a dynamic leader join the BPC family. Her decades of service to public policy will help shape BPC’s work for years to come. We can’t wait to get started.”
“Congratulations to my friend and fellow Texan Margaret Spellings on being selected as the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Chief Executive Officer,” said Sen. John Cornyn. “Margaret is an accomplished professional who brings decades of private and public sector experience to the table and is held in high regard across the political spectrum, and I am confident that she will do an outstanding job in this new role.”
“Throughout her career, Margaret Spellings has brought together people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to find common ground and get things done,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “Margaret is a thoughtful, pragmatic leader and I know she will lead the Bipartisan Policy Center with integrity and fierce determination to find commonsense solutions on critical issues facing our nation.”
“During my time working with Margaret Spellings, she always demonstrated a willingness to build consensus among differing views,” said former Sen. Olympia Snowe. “Her stellar credentials reflect her deep understanding that the fundamental goal of public service is to solve problems and achieve results. Margaret is exactly what BPC needs as the organization embarks on this new chapter.”
“I commend the Bipartisan Policy Center for selecting such an outstanding individual to lead,” said former Sen. and BPC Co-Founder Tom Daschle. “During my time in the U.S. Senate, I saw firsthand the dedication and commitment Margaret Spellings brought to every issue. BPC was founded more than 15 years ago with a simple purpose: to break down the often-fierce debate in Washington and look for common ground to improve the lives of all Americans. Secretary Spellings shares those principles and I look forward to working with her as she begins her new role as CEO.”
Spellings most recently served as President and CEO of Texas 2036, a think tank representing non-partisan ideas that are grounded in research and transparent data to break through the gridlock on issues that matter most to all Texans. Prior to that, Spellings served as the president of the 17-institution University of North Carolina System from 2016 to 2019.
From 2005 to 2009, Spellings served as U.S. Secretary of Education, leading the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan initiative to provide greater accountability for the education of 50 million U.S. public school students. As secretary, she also launched the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, a plan to address challenges of access, affordability, quality, and accountability in our nation’s colleges and universities. Prior to serving as Secretary, Spellings served as White House domestic policy advisor from 2001 to 2005, overseeing the administration’s agenda on education, transportation, health, justice, housing, and labor.
Spellings was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but spent much of her childhood in Houston. She is a graduate of the University of Houston, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She also received an honorary doctorate and Distinguished Alumni Award from the university in 2006.