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January 28, 2003

Nina [Hosseini] Shokraii Rees leads the newly created U.S. Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), overseeing the administration of approximately 25 competitive grant programs. The office supports education innovation, broadly disseminates the lessons learned from these programs and helps to make strategic investments in promising educational practices.

Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Education, Rees was one of four aides to Vice President Cheney, advising him on domestic policy issues. She advised the vice president on education, crime, homeownership, race, welfare and other issues affecting families and children. She worked on the passage of the president's proposal to overhaul the federal role in education and helped implement the law.

Prior to joining the White House in January 2001, Rees served as an education adviser to the Bush campaign and helped draft the No Child Left Behind education blueprint for the Bush/Cheney transition team. She also served as a senior aide on the education platform committee at the 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia.

From 1997 to 2001, she served as the chief education analyst for The Heritage Foundation. She was the Foundation's lead author and spokesperson on education and worked closely with members of Congress and state legislatures on policy proposals aimed at reforming federal education programs and aiding disadvantaged students. She has testified before Congress on a number of education issues, including the benefits of school choice for low-income students. She was the 1999 recipient of the Foundation's Rita Ricardo Campbell Award because of her "outstanding contributions to the analysis and promotion of the Free Society."

Prior to joining Heritage, Rees served as director of outreach programs at the Institute for Justice and as a Policy Analyst at Americans for Tax Reform. She spent two years on the staff of Representative Porter Goss, R-Fla., while earning her master's degree in International Transactions from George Mason University. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1989.

Rees has been a frequent media commentator on education issues. Her articles and views have appeared in various national newspapers and magazines, including Business Week, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Weekly Standard. She has also appeared on CBS's Early Show and Evening News, CNN's Inside Politics and Talk Back Live, C-Span's Washington Journal, Fox Morning News, Fox News Channel's Special Report and O'Reilly Factor, Lifetime Live, MSNBC's Equal Time and PBS's NewsHour.

A native of Iran, which she left at age 14, Rees is fluent in French and Farsi.\

U.S. Office of Innovation and Improvement

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