By Ryan McFadden
Frank Brogan climbs higher up the US Department of Education’s ranks after being delegated the duties of Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education and nominated Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education by President Trump.
Brogan, former chancellor of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education and Lieutenant Governor of Florida, brings experience to the Education Department, having served 8 years in statewide office and a lifetime in the role of educator.
As PASSHE’s chancellor, Brogan faced challenges dealing with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union or APSCUF.
Faculty worked more than one year under no contract and a new one did not materialize in time, sending professors to the picket-line in the fall of 2016.
It was the first faculty union strike in PASSHE history and it occurred under Brogan’s leadership.
The former chancellor was blamed by faculty and students for his role in the strike, namely his inability to write a contract the union would sign. APSCUF shared some of the blame, refusing to accept contracts that would’ve helped the University System lower tuition costs. It was a clash of conservative and union rhetoric that kept students out of class for the first three days of the 2016 fall semester.
PASSHE and APSCUF eventually compromised and signed a contract set to run through June of this year.
The strike and its resolution exemplify the conservative style of management Brogan brings to his new Assistant Secretary positions within the Education Department.
“Today is an opportunity for a fresh start,” former chancellor Brogan said in a news release in 2016. “Throughout this process (strike), our students have been remarkably patient, and they should be applauded. Now, we look forward to making sure the rest of the year ends strong for them and for our talented faculty.”
PASSHE’s former chancellor began his teaching career in a fifth-grade classroom at Port Salerno Elementary School in Southeast Florida. While teaching the fifth grade, Brogan earned his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Florida Atlantic University.
A master’s degree and charisma were all the young teacher needed to rise through Florida’s education system.
Brogan was elected superintendent of Martin County Schools for two terms. During those years, he reportedly negotiated a gun away from a student.
Brogan became the youngest-ever Florida Commissioner of Education in 1994.
Four years later, Jeb Bush, running for governor of Florida, needed a running mate. Brogan signed on.
The Bush/Brogan team won Florida’s general election in 1998. That made Brogan Lieutenant Governor of Florida and an overseer of educational policy.
In 2003, Brogan departed the Bush administration to become president of Florida Atlantic University.
He moved on from that position to become chancellor of the State University System of Florida in 2009.
He resigned from that post in 2013 to become PASSHE’s chancellor.
By September 2017, Brogan became a former chancellor for the second time, leaving behind a Pennsylvania State University System some say is “primed for change” and others say was “plagued by weak leadership.”
Now, in 2018, Brogan has risen higher than ever before. Nominated by President Trump Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and already delegated the duties of Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education, Brogan continues to climb up the ranks.
Responsibilities of an Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education include supervising Higher Education programs, and the Offices of International and Foreign Language Education and Policy Planning and Innovation.
Brogan awaits Senate Approval following Trump’s nomination, but with a Republican-controlled Senate and a record of conservative educational policy, Brogan’s already a shoe-in for his most recent promotion.
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