Anne Holton, the wife of Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s choice to be her running mate, has stepped down from her position as Virginia’s education secretary following the announcement of her husband’s selection for the vice presidential slot o nthe Democratic ticket.
In Clinton’s announcement speech last week, she applauded Holton’s work in Virginia. On Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) also praised Holton’s accomplishments, particularly her efforts to reform the state’s standardized testing policy and her work to raise education funding, according to Moriah Balingit of The Washington Post.
“During her tenure, Anne has been a constant and powerful voice for students, teachers, and schools, and her lifelong dedication to serving Virginia’s young people, especially the children at the margins, has had a lasting impact in the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
Holton and her husband have both been champions of education in Virginia. When Kaine served as governor of the state, he advocated for early childhood education. Clinton has made early education a central issue in her education platform.
When Holton was the first lady of Virginia, she concentrated on helping kids in foster care find stable homes. Her long-term advocacy for foster children and her position as a juvenile court judge led to Holton being asked to fill the position of the commonwealth’s education secretary two years ago.
Holton also pushed for school discipline reforms needed to help lower suspension, expulsion, and arrest rates, writes the Daily Press’ Travis Fain. Graduation requirements are being overhauled in Virginia as well. The current administration is pushing for an emphasis on job skills in high school, and during Holton’s two-and-a-half years in office, the state has expanded its school breakfast and lunch programs.
Holton is the daughter of Virginia Gov. A. Linwood Holton (R), a supporter of integration. She and her sister attended a traditionally all-black Richmond City public school in the 1970s. Holton received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton and a law degree from Harvard. She worked as a legal aid lawyer, serving low-income families, and became a juvenile and domestic relations district court judge in 1998.
Prior to taking the job with the McAuliffe administration, Holton led a Virginia Community College System program focused on helping youth, who were being forced to leave foster homes because of their age, continue their education, writes the Associated Press.
Holton and Kaine met at Harvard Law School and have three children.
When Holton resigned, Deputy Secretary of Education Dietra Trent, who also served as deputy secretary under Kaine, stepped into the position. Trent served as director of constituent services and director of the Council on Human Rights under Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.
“Dietra is goal-oriented and a natural problem-solver who is already a crucial member of our team, and I am excited to have her join my Cabinet,” McAuliffe said.
Trent has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology from Hampton University and a master’s and a doctoral degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University in public administration and policy.