Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (R) is filling in some of the remaining senior-level gaps in his administration, ahead of Saturday’s inauguration.
Tuesday, McDonnell appointed Gerard Robinson — a national expert on charter schools — as the state’s next education secretary.
The governor-elect also tapped former Rep. Thelma Drake (R-2nd) and former state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R) to hold senior-level positions.
The full release from the governor-elect’s office, which includes detailed bios, is after the jump.
McDonnell Names Gerard Robinson as Secretary of Education; Announces Additional Senior-Level Administration Appointments
Former Educator Currently Serves as President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options; Nationally Recognized Expert on Charter Schools
RICHMOND- Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell continued making appointments to his Cabinet and Administration today in a morning press conference at the State Capitol. At the event McDonnell announced Gerard Robinson as the Commonwealth’s next Secretary of Education. Robinson currently serves as the President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and began his career as an educator in Los Angeles. He is a nationally recognized expert on the modern charter school movement and serves on the Policy Advisory Council at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and on the board of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Charter School Resource Center.
McDonnell also announced the following additional senior-level appointments to his Administration:
J. Jasen Eige: Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Governor
John Buckovich: Deputy Secretary of Public Safety
James S. Cheng: Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Charles James: Deputy Secretary of Administration
Maureen Matsen: Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources
Jeannemarie Davis: Director, Virginia Liaison Office (Washington D.C.)
Thelma Drake: Director, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
David Paylor: Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Speaking about the Secretary-designate of Education, McDonnell noted, “Few individuals in America are as committed to providing positive educational opportunities for all our young people, in all our communities, as Gerard Robinson. He understands the issue both personally and professionally. Gerard’s life story, from growing up in a working-class family in Los Angeles to receiving his Master’s degree in Education from Harvard, is an inspiration to us all. He has dedicated his career to helping young people across the country receive the same educational opportunities that were crucial to his own success.”
McDonnell continued, “This Administration will be dedicated to making Virginia public schools the best in the nation, expanding access to higher education, and putting Virginia in the vanguard of the national charter school movement. Gerard Robinson will lead that effort and I know we could not have a more qualified and dedicated advocate working on this issue. He will also join with me in working to put more education dollars into the classroom, where our children learn, and in instituting measures to reward our great teachers for their tireless work molding the next generation of Virginians. And Gerard will also spearhead our work to increase access to, and the affordability of, Virginia’s institutions of higher learning. We will commit the Commonwealth to awarding 100,000 more degrees over the next 15 years in order to ensure Virginians are well-prepared for the knowledge-intensive jobs of the 21st Century. Gerard Robinson will be a vocal and successful advocate for educational opportunity and excellence in every community in the Commonwealth.”
Below are full biographies of today’s appointees.
Further announcements regarding additional appointments in the McDonnell Administration will continue to be made in the weeks ahead.
Secretary-designate of Education
Mr. Robinson is the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). BAEO is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to actively support parental choice to empower families and to increase quality educational options for Black children. Prior to his position at BAEO, Mr. Robinson served as a senior research associate for the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas from 2006 to 2007, and as a senior fellow at the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University from 2004 to 2006. As a senior fellow, he assisted in reform efforts related to Milwaukee’s private and public school choice programs and provided testimony before a Wisconsin legislative hearing on “Closing the Achievement Gap.” Mr. Robinson also participated as a member of the Wisconsin team that worked with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers on a U.S. Department of Education funded project. This collaboration resulted in the publication of Quality Charter School Authorizing in Wisconsin: Authorizer & Charter School Accountability Under No Child Left Behind (2006). Mr. Robinson is on the board of the following organizations: the Policy Advisory Council at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; the Advisory Committee for the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University; the Georgia Charter School Commission; the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program; and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Charter School Resource Center.
Mr. Robinson’s professional endeavors have included numerous initiatives involving urban school reform and policy development. As executive director of a nonprofit organization in New York City, he opened a charter school in New Jersey. He participated in the crafting of public policy through his fellowship with the California State Senate, as a resource person in the Virginia General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a legislative liaison for the superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Mr. Robinson also was an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles and a teacher in the Pre-College Academic Program at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey.
For the past several years, Mr. Robinson has given formal and informal presentations about education and public policy before audiences in the United States and abroad. Forums include: the John F. Kennedy School of Government; the NAACP; the Toussaint Institute; the Curry School of Education; UVA School of Law; the Brookings Institution; Teach for America; the Lexington Institute; the Commonwealth Foundation; the National Archives and Records Administration; the Humanities Council of Washington, DC; the Virginia Public Policy Institute; the Close Up Foundation; Howard University School of Law; the Cato Institute; the Black Issues in Higher Education Conference; the Community Teachers Institute; the Harvard Graduate School of Education; the Stanford School of Business; the Congress for the New Urbanism; the Minnesota legislature; the Institute for Humane Studies; the American Legislative Exchange Council; the U.S. Department of Education; a White House Education Conference; the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; the Alliance for Catholic Education; the Thomas B. Fordham Institute; and National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation; and CSPAN. Mr. Robinson also discussed the merits of the American public school choice movement at the Summer Institute for Educators held at Oxford University in England, and examined policy issues with university personnel at the Higher Education Institute held at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Other international travel includes the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gambia, Germany, Haiti, Israel, and Senegal.
Mr. Robinson’s publications include: “The Color of Success: Black Student Achievement in Public Charter Schools,” Issue Brief for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (2008–coauthored with Edwin Chang); a biographical entry for Mayor Walter E. Washington and Drs. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. and Walter J. Leonard in the African American National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008); “Urban School District Takeovers: Theory and Practice,” in The Congress for New Urbanism Education Report (2007); “More than Homework, a Snack, and Basketball: Afterschool Programs as an Oasis of Hope for Black Parents in Four Cities,” prepared for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (2007); “A Survey of School Choice Research,” published by the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, Marquette University (2005); “Freedom of Choice: Brown, Vouchers, and the Philosophy of Language,” in D. Salisbury and C. Lartigue (Eds.) Educational Freedom in Urban America: Brown v. Board After Half a Century, 13-52 (Cato Institute, 2004); and “Can the Spirit of Brown Survive in the Era of School Choice? A Legal and Policy Perspective,” Howard Law Journal, volume 45, 281-336 (2002). Mr. Robinson received a Master of Education degree from Harvard University, a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University, and an Associate of Arts from El Camino Community College. Scholarly interests include education policy and civil rights. He is married and has two daughters.
J. Jasen Eige
Counselor and Senior Advisor to the Governor
Jasen Eige first worked with Governor-elect Bob McDonnell eleven years ago as an intern in his legislative office during law school. After law school, Jasen clerked for the Honorable Glen M. Williams, Senior United States District Judge for the Western District of Virginia. He then joined the Abingdon law firm of Penn, Stuart & Eskridge as an associate. In 2003 he and his wife, Christy, moved from Bristol, Virginia to Richmond to work in Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s Administration as an Assistant Attorney General in the Trial Section of the Civil Litigation Section. In 2006 he was promoted to Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Finance Law and Government Services Section, where he later served as Acting Section Chief for the Government Services portion of the Section. In this capacity, Jasen directly managed attorneys and support staff for this Section and represented several state agencies including the Virginia State Board of Elections, Virginia Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Port Authority, the Virginia College Savings Fund, the Virginia Retirement System, the Virginia Department of Economic Development, and the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority.
In 2007, Jasen began serving as Chief of Staff and Counsel to then-Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell. Among other duties, he oversaw the Administrative Division of the Office of the Attorney General including the Finance, Technology and Human Resource Departments. During this period, Jasen assisted with achieving zero audit points for the last two years of the McDonnell Administration, and played a critical role in cutting the office budget by more than 19 percent, without layoffs. Jasen also took over Deputy Attorney General responsibilities for the Financial Law and Government Services Division, overseeing attorneys and support staff in that Division. In 2009, Jasen joined Governor-elect McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign as Chief Counsel. He currently serves as Counsel to the Governor-elect’s Transition Office.
Jasen earned his Juris Doctor and Masters in Public Policy degrees at Regent University, after attending King College in Bristol, Tennessee, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in political science and history.
Deputy Secretary of Public Safety
John Buckovich held a variety of positions with the Richmond Police Department during his 26 year career. He served as the SWAT Team Commander, Commander of the Bomb Unit, Officer-in-Charge of the Gang Unit, Commander of the Second Precinct, Commander of the Special Investigations Narcotics and Gang Division, Chief of Staff, Operations Major and Interim Assistant Chief. He was awarded numerous citations and commendations including the Medal of Valor and Police Medal.
While with the Richmond Police Department he was instrumental in the implementation and coordination of GRIP (Gang Reduction and Intervention Program) in the City of Richmond, in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General. He has extensive experience in gang prevention, intervention, suppression, and reentry programs. John has provided training in these areas to community groups and law enforcement personnel, and spoke at a White House program on Faith Based Initiatives as a result of his leadership in the GRIP program and his knowledge of gang suppression.
Buckovich is currently an investigative supervisor for the Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
John’s professional and private undertakings have developed his skills in the areas of leadership, critical thinking, planning and decision-making. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond with a degree in Human Resource Management. He attended the 201st Session of the FBI National Academy.
John and his wife Veronica have been married for 26 years and have two grown sons.
James S. (Jim) ChengDeputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade
James S. Cheng has over 20 years of experience in Information Technology and Government Contracting, and is active in angel investment and early stage entrepreneurial ventures of various types. Jim is currently the President of Totus Lighting Solutions, a startup efficient-energy firm, and mentors several emerging companies. From 1994-2005 he was founder and CEO of CHM, a government contracting company specializing in Information Technology, which he grew from a staff of 5 people to 550 and $90M in revenue at the time of sale in 2005. In 1999 his company was named Virginia Business Magazine’s fastest growing private company in Virginia and #12 fastest growing private US company in Inc Magazine’s “Inc 500”. In 2001 he was named SE Virginia’s KPMG Entrepreneur of the year. From 1981-1994 at ECI, a government IT contracting firm, he held various management and technical positions, rising to the position of Sr. Vice President of Marketing. Jim is active in the community and has served on the boards of non-profits, state-level and community organizations. He was a board member of the Virginia Small Business Finance Authority from 1999-2007, and is currently a Trustee of the Darden School Foundation at UVA, and a member of the ODU Education Foundation Board. Jim holds a BS Degree in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, a MBA from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business (UVA) and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. Long time residents of Virginia Beach, Jim and his wife, Jeanette, moved to Northern VA in the late 90’s, where they currently reside.
Charles JamesDeputy Secretary of Administration
Charles James served as Director of Department of Personnel and Training in the administration of Governor George Allen and as a Member of the Virginia Parole Board in the administration of Governor Jim Gilmore.
In 2001, he continued his public service career as a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor in the administration of President George W. Bush.
He was born in Roanoke and educated in the public school system. Following graduation from King College, Bristol, Tennessee, Mr. James began work in the telecommunications industry where he worked for nearly two decades Mr. James brings over thirty years of successful, private and public sector experience as a results-oriented manager and leader to this new role. Charles is married to Kay Coles James. The James’s have three children
Maureen MatsenDeputy Secretary of Natural Resources
Maureen Matsen served as Deputy to the Governor-elect responsible for the Attorney General’s Civil Litigation Division. A well-respected trial and appellate lawyer, Matsen has spent much of her career in public service, rising through the ranks of the Attorney General’s Office to the position of Deputy. As Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation, she directed the defense of a substantial portion of the Commonwealth’s litigation and managed the fifty plus lawyers and staff who are responsible for that work. In addition, she actively led the work of the Office in utility matters before the State Corporation Commission and handled all energy-related issues for the Attorney General, including working with his Chief Deputy on negotiations leading to the legislature’s 2007 re-regulation of electricity. In this role she has worked with most of Virginia’s electric and gas utilities, many of their industrial and commercial customers, and tracked federal energy policy and its impact and implications for Virginia’s citizens.
Matsen graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law in 1989 and from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Political Science. She began her law career as a clerk at the Supreme Court of Virginia and then in complex litigation at McGuire Woods Battle and Booth. In the Attorney General’s Office, prior to assuming leadership of the Civil Litigation Division, she represented a variety of state agencies, several institutions of higher education, and managed many special projects and issues, including the federal government’s investigation of the desegregation of Virginia’s system of higher education. She has served as counsel to the Virginia Military Institute for the last ten years, and, as Deputy State Solicitor General under Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, defended the Commonwealth in numerous significant constitutional challenges, including the challenge of Virginia’s statute banning cross burning. Most recently, she led the work of the Office on behalf of the Commonwealth and Virginia Tech, in the settlement of all but two of the potential legal claims arising out of the tragic shooting of April 16, 2007.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Matsen serves on the Board of Governors of the Virginia Bar Association and on the Boards of the Virginia Mentoring Partnership and The Healing Place. She is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where she has served on the vestry and Foundation board. Mrs. Matsen grew up in Loudoun County and is a graduate of Virginia’s public schools. She is married to Michael and has a daughter, Riley, who is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.
Director, Virginia Liaison Office (Washington D.C.)
Jeannemarie Davis served three terms in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1997-2002, before being elected to the State Senate in 2003, where she served for four years. In her first term in the House of Delegates, she was elected as her Republican Freshman Class President and her peers elected her Majority Whip in her third term – the only Republican woman ever elected to a leadership position in the General Assembly. Similarly, she represented the 34th Senatorial District as the only Republican Woman in the Virginia State Senate.
Jeannemarie has been active in the Northern Virginia area for over 20 years, 10 of which she has devoted to political service, sponsoring over 146 bills that have become law and spending much of her time with local organizations that focus on improving lives and strengthening the community. Senator Davis served on 5 committees during her Senate term including Transportation, Rules, General Laws & Technology, Privileges & Elections, and Rehabilitation & Social Services.
As an active member in the community, the former senator currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Medical Care for Children Partnership (MCCP) and the Sorensen Institutue. She is also a member of the New Providence Republican Womens’ Club.
Jeannemarie has been a partner with ICG Government, a technology consulting group, since 2003, where she is instrumental in coordinating conferences that bring together key government and industry executives for substantive discussions of government management and information sharing, and consulting with government contracting clients in both the federal and state sectors. Additionally, she is a featured speaker on subjects of intergovernmental relations; state policy and political processes; and management of technology and health enterprise, both nationally and internationally.
Jeannemarie graduated from Yorktown High School, in Arlington, VA, and earned a BA in Mathematics from the University of Virginia, in 1978. She is the mother of four daughters and resides in Vienna, VA, with her husband, former Congressman Tom Davis.
Thelma DrakeDirector, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
Thelma Drake has served with distinction in both the U.S. Congress and the Virginia House of Delegates. She represented Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 2004-2008. She formerly served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1996-2004.
Her Congressional committee assignments included House Armed Services; Transportation and Infrastructure; Resources; and Education and Workforce. During her four years in Congress, she provided a strong voice in offering meaningful solutions to America’s complex energy challenges. She focused on alternative and renewable energies, deep sea drilling and expansion of America’s own resources.
In the Virginia House of Delegates, she served on the General Laws; Corporations, Insurance and Banking; Finance; and Transportation Committees. She also chaired the Virginia Housing Study Commission.
Drake’s professional background is in Real Estate. She is currently coordinator of FutureLaw’s Renewable Energy Group. She also works with FutureLaw’s affiliated commercial real estate company, Capital Commercial Realty, LLC. Drake and her husband Ted reside in Norfolk. They have two adult children, and four grandchildren.
David PaylorDirector, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
David K. Paylor was appointed Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality by Governor Tim Kaine. He served as Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for Governor Mark Warner and as the Deputy for Operations at DEQ during the Gilmore administration.
Paylor’s career began in 1973 with the State Water Control Board and continued with DEQ. He began as a field biologist and held a variety of positions after that as an aquatic ecologist, water resources manager, and director of petroleum programs. Paylor currently is Past President of the Environmental Council of the States.
Paylor graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and received his master’s degree from Oregon State University in fisheries science. He and his wife Lesa have two children, Kelsey and Grant. His hobbies include camping, canoeing and woodworking.