DC Huskies

Alumna advocates for English language learners

When Libia Gil, ’89, arrived in the United States, she spoke only a few words of English. Now, she’s helping make sure more than 4.4 million English language learners in the nation’s public schools receive high-quality instruction.

Gil, who graduated with her doctorate from the UW College of Education in 1989, is the principal adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on matters relating to the education of English learners as assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition.

“Like many others, I came to this country as a young immigrant English learner, so many of my personal experiences mirror students who are newcomers to our communities,” Gil said. “I have gained strength from the many challenges I experienced and I am grateful for the opportunities to contribute and support learning with others.”

Named to the position in 2013 by President Obama, her responsibilities include administering programs under Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These programs support high-quality instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students.

“I am committed to pursuing equity and access for all students, in particular the underserved,” said Gil. “I have continued to learn significant lessons throughout my education roles and one key lesson learned is that improving learning experiences for all students requires a deep commitment and actions to challenge barriers and to alter the status quo.”

Continue reading this article on the College of Education’s website.