WASHINGTON (October 9, 2002) -- Virginia educator Marie A. Powell has been named assistant secretary for parental advocacy in the U.S. Bishops' Department of Education.
Her appointment becomes effective November 11, and was announced by Dominican Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, Secretary for Education at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Mrs. Powell succeeds Mary Ellen Russell, who assumed a position in the Maryland Catholic Conference in the Fall.
Sister McPhee noted the vital experience Mrs. Powell brings to her new position.
"Marie Powell has a solid background in Catholic elementary and secondary education and in the specific area of advocating for parents and children on the county, state, and national level," she said.
Currently, Mrs. Powell is Assistant Principal and Academic Dean at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia.
Mrs. Powell served as Superintendent of Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington for nine years. Prior to assuming that position, she was the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Government and Community Relations for four years. She has taught in both Catholic elementary and secondary schools and served on the Diocesan School Board in Arlington and on the Commission on Christian Education in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.
In the area of advocacy for public policy issues affecting children and parents, Mrs. Powell served on the USCCB"s Committee on Public Policy and Catholic Schools, represented the Virginia Council for Private Education before Virginia legislative and regulatory committees on issues related to child care and private school accreditation, and was appointed to both the Virginia General Assembly and the Fairfax County task forces on child care issues.
Mrs. Powell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of St. Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, and a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University. She is married to John M. Powell, an attorney in Arlington, Virginia, and they have two adult children, Kristine and Conor. The Powells are active members of St. Ann"s parish in Arlington.
The office for advocacy has roots in the U.S. bishops" Office for Catholic School Parent Associations, established in 1994 . The office helps dioceses and states form associations of Catholic school parents and provides assistance to groups already established in support of educational policy positions of the USCCB, state Catholic conferences and dioceses.
The office also serves as a clearinghouse providing information, promotion materials, technical and legal assistance, existing models, training and a network of contacts to facilitate reaching legislative goals. In addition, the office coordinates the National Coalition of Catholic School Parent Associations to facilitate parental legislative networking.
The 1994 establishment of the office marked a key effort by parents seeking to exercise their right to choice in education for their children.
Other offices within the USCCB Education Department focus on federal assistance, Catholic higher education and campus ministry, catechesis and multi-cultural concerns, and catechesis and leadership development.