After 30 years at the helm of the National Center on Education and the Economy, founder Marc Tucker will step aside from his leadership role to focus on research and writing. He will be succeeded as president and CEO of NCEE by Anthony “Tony” Mackay, an Australian who has long advised governments around the world on issues of school and system leadership, teacher quality and student achievement.
“We are a small organization, but I would like to think that we have punched way above our weight,” said Tucker. “My aim, when I founded NCEE, was to learn as much as possible from the countries that have been outperforming the United States, translate that into a policy agenda, and then work with the states to implement that agenda by helping them develop the policies and the institutional capacity they need to do the job. We are not there yet, but we have made more progress than I thought possible. That is entirely due to our remarkable staff and our much larger extended family of advisors, consultants and others in the United States and around the world, without whom we could not have gotten this far. I am deeply grateful to you all for your help, your encouragement and unfailing energy. Tony is the right person to take this organization forward. He knows the territory, has played a global leadership role in all the right places and has gotten to know our whole tribe by working shoulder to shoulder with us in the trenches. I am pleased to hand the baton to him.”
“It is a huge privilege and special honor to take this leadership role at NCEE,” said president and CEO-designate Anthony Mackay. “Marc and his exceptionally talented staff have built a uniquely positioned and highly influential organization. NCEE is known the world over for its research and singular record of improving schools and school systems. I thank Marc and the NCEE Board of Trustees for their confidence and trust and am excited by the opportunity to contribute to the NCEE mission alongside its world-class staff.”
After serving as Associate Director of the National Institute of Education in charge of the nation’s education policy research in the 1970s and then researching the implications of computers and artificial intelligence for education in the early 80s, Tucker was asked by Carnegie Corporation of New York to serve as staff director of the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. The Forum’s 1986 report, A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century, struck themes that would define Tucker’s work for the next 30 years; including his belief that sustained top student performance at scale is a function not of a pile of “proven interventions” but of highly coherent, well-designed education systems set to high standards and staffed by first-rate teachers.
Tucker founded NCEE in 1988 as both a think tank and a do tank, an organization that would play an important role in creating the nation’s agenda for education reform and, at the same time, take responsibility for helping others implement that agenda in states, districts and schools. Under his leadership, NCEE created New Standards, the precursor to the Common Core State Standards; America’s Choice, one of the country’s most successful comprehensive school reform programs and the National Institute for School Leadership, the nation’s largest program for training school principals. President Clinton, in a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the passage of the Clinton administration’s education and job training legislation, singled Tucker and NCEE out for their contribution to that agenda. Over its 30-year history, NCEE has been a national leader in the standards movement and a global leader in the analysis of the strategies used by the countries with the world’s best education systems. It’s landmark report, America’s Choice: high skills or low wages!, drew the nation’s attention to the threat to the country’s economic competitiveness posed by its failure to match student performance improvements in a growing number of other countries.
Anthony Mackay will become President and CEO of NCEE on January 1, 2019. Mackay has advised organizations, governments and school systems on every continent and is a leading voice in global education research and development. He has served as Senior Advisor to Marc Tucker and NCEE for three years. He was the first Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), and first Deputy Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). He is Chair of the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER), Deputy Chancellor of Swinburne University, Melbourne, and Deputy Chair of the Education Council, New Zealand. For many years, Mackay has been CEO of the Centre for Strategic Education in Australia.
Mackay is Co-Chair of the Global Education Leaders Partnership (GELP) and Foundation Chair and Director of the Innovation Unit Ltd, England. He is an Expert Advisor to OECD/CERI and Facilitator of key OECD education conferences and ministerial meetings. He is Consultant Advisor to the Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network and to IBE UNESCO. He is Past President of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) and a founding member of the Governing Council of the National College for School Leadership in England.
Mackay chairs the annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession and has facilitated the Global Education Industry Summit and Key Debates at the annual World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE). His policy advice, consultancy and facilitation work focuses on education strategy for government departments, agencies, think tanks and leadership teams internationally.
Tucker will continue his work with NCEE as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, President/CEO Emeritus and Distinguished Senior Fellow, finally getting the time, he says, to research and write the books and articles he has long wanted to write and working on other projects of particular interest to him.