Zuckerberg hires former Education Dept. official for philanthropic work

Zuckerberg hires former Education Dept. official for philanthropic work
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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife on Wednesday hired a former Obama administration official to help run the education portion of their philanthropic work. 

Jim Shelton, former Education Department deputy secretary, will help lead education funding at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which was set up last year as a vehicle for Zuckerberg and his wife Pricilla to give away 99 percent of their Facebook stock over their lifetime. 


Shelton will focus on investment in underserved communities and personalized one-on-one learning. 

“This is going to be a very long-term effort,” Zuckerberg said in a live video on Facebook. “Building an initiative around personalized learning or working in underserved communities isn’t the type of thing that you can make a huge difference on in a year or two.”

During the announcement of Zuckerberg’s philanthropic push last December, Facebook said that Zuckerberg would give away no more than $3 billion over the next three years. 

Shelton is among a number of federal government employees who have moved into technology-related fields throughout Obama’s tenure. 

Shelton was at the Education Department from 2009 to the start of 2015, when he joined the technology company 2U in Marylandm which helps universities build online classes. 

Before his time in the federal government, Shelton headed up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was started by the founder of Microsoft. 

During a question-and-answer session with Facebook, Shelton praised the Obama administration’s recent push for more funding for computer science in schools. 

“Clearly, there is an opportunity to continue to build on the work that is happening in schools,” Shelton said. “The president’s initiative around computer science means there is going to be a lot of work. The question is: How do we actually help many more kids access that computer science opportunity by tapping into where they are, finding out of it is a passion for them and helping them excel at it?”