CLEMSON, SC – The National Dropout Prevention Network (NDPN) will present its 2014 Crystal Star Award for Lifetime Achievement and National Impact to the Honorable Elaine L. Chao, the former and 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor, during the organization’s upcoming national conference in Louisville, KY, it was announced today by Dr. Elizabeth “Beth” Reynolds, Executive Director of NDPN.
Established in 1986 and headquartered in Clemson, South Carolina on the Clemson University campus, the National Dropout Prevention Network provides research, resources, evidence-based solutions and support to schools, districts, administrators and communities throughout the country in combatting dropout and increasing graduation rates. The organization’s Crystal Star Award is presented annually to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated their commitment to education and to bettering the lives of others.
Secretary Chao, who served as Secretary of Labor from 2001-2009 during the presidency of George W. Bush, is currently a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, an educational and research institute in Washington, D.C. In a career dedicated to public service, Chao’s has previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Way of America, Director of the Peace Corps and Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, among other positions.
Chao has also been a lifelong advocate of education. As one of six daughters who immigrated to the
U.S. when she was eight, Chao knew no English once arriving in her new country. The former secretary earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.
“We are pleased to recognize the former secretary for her distinguished career in the public, private and non-private sectors, her advocacy of the importance of education, and her stellar personal example of success and determination,” said Reynolds.
Chao, who is married to Kentucky Senator and Senate Minority Leader Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell, Jr.¸ will be feted during a special award reception on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY. The event is being hosted by Reynolds; NDPN Board Member Elayne Bennett and former U.S. Secretary of Education, William “Bill” Bennett; NDPN Board Chair Raymond J. McNulty; and Ruth Fox and Dr. Marty Fox of Lexington, KY. The Crystal Star Awards presentation is for invited guests. Media representatives interested in providing coverage may contact the NDPC to submit a request, and secure the time and location of the event by calling (864) 656-3875.
Other dignitaries scheduled to attend the November 2–5 NDPN conference include Kentucky Governor Steven L. Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, who will be presented with a Crystal Star Award of Excellence in recognition of their distinguished leadership and service. The presentation to the Governor and First Lady will take place on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, also at The Galt House Hotel.
Individual winners of the NDPN’s Crystal Star Awards in the area of dropout prevention include Kelly Tonsmeire, of the Alaska Staff Development Network in Douglas, AK, and Seith Bedard, Director of the Peabody Learning Academy, in Peabody, MA.
Program recipients of the Crystal Star Award for 2014 are Mountain Educational Charter High School in Cleveland, GA, and Edmonton Catholic Schools in Alberta, Canada.