Press release from Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s Office
St. Paul, MN —Governor Mark Dayton today appointed Dr. Sheila Wright, professor and Dean in the School of Education at Hamline University, as the Director of the Office of Higher Education. Dr. Wright has dedicated her career in education to addressing the crucial issues of teacher quality and the achievement gap, working in P-12 and higher education, as well as in state government and non-profit organizations. She is widely respected as an innovator in the areas of faculty governance, assessment, general education, tenure, diversity, and community partnerships.
Prior to joining the faculty at Hamline, Dr. Wright served as associate dean of academic programs and a tenured faculty member in the School of Education at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. She has also taught at Carleton College in Northfield and at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to post-secondary education. The agency also serves as the state’s clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on post-secondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends. It administers up to $150 million dollars in need-based grants to Minnesota residents attending eligible institutions in Minnesota. Dr. Wright replaces Acting Director Barbara S. Schlaefer and her term runs till Jan 5, 2015.
“I am delighted that Dr. Wright has agreed to join our administration,” said Governor Dayton. “Her nationally recognized leadership in education will help guide our administration’s efforts to restore Minnesota to its former position of national leadership in making higher education more accessible, more affordable, and more responsive to the needs of Minnesota’s college students.”
“This is a tremendous honor and privilege,” said Dr. Wright. “I share Governor Dayton’s strong commitment to education. I believe that giving our residents the best and most affordable higher education is the best way to ensure future prosperity and economic success for our entire state, and look forward to working with the Governor to find new and better ways to make that happen.”
Dr. Wright previously served as an adjunct at North Carolina State University, Saint Augustine’s College, and Coastal Carolina Community College. Prior to her work in higher education, she began her career in visual arts as a teacher for Wake County Public Schools in Raleigh, North Carolina, and worked in leadership roles at the state level both in North Carolina and Alabama. She graduated magna cum laude with a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, earned her MAE from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her PhD in curriculum and instruction from North Carolina State University.