About us

Meet Our Board

James F. Manning

James Manning is a veteran of government and public service. He has served in six Presidential Administrations and as a leader in the non-profit community. Mr. Manning currently serves as Acting Under Secretary of the U. S. Department of Education.

Mr. Manning's career began at the U.S. Department of State where he served in the career Foreign Service. He went on to serve as a Special Assistant to the President and Director of Projects for the First Lady during the Reagan Administration. In that position, he planned and directed the First Lady's "Just-Say-No" anti-drug abuse campaign. In 1989, Mr. Manning moved to the Department of Education for the first time, serving in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education as Deputy Assistant Secretary.

Mr. Manning left government in 1993 and joined the National Basketball Association as Director of International Events. He planned and directed events worldwide to promote the NBA's commitment to social responsibility and to helping people achieve an improved quality of life. Some of the key events he directed include the league's South Africa Tours, USA Basketball Women's National Team Tour and Dream Team II Tour, All-Star weekend and the Special Olympics World Games.

In the late 1990's, Mr. Manning served as head of two non-profit organizations; the non-profit Congressional Award Foundation, a public-private partnership designed to work with business, community and congressional leaders to foster personal development and community service in America's youth. He also served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Catholic Alliance, a bipartisan grassroots Catholic citizens organization.

In 2001, he was called again to government service and returned to the Department of Education where he was appointed as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary. In that position, Mr. Manning served as the principal advisor to the Deputy Secretary on all policy and program issues. He oversaw the day-to-day operation of the Department, and, for a period, led the Department's largest component, Federal Student Aid (FSA) as Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO).

In 2003, while serving at Education, Mr. Manning was asked by the White House to assume leadership of the Corporation for National and Community Service during a crisis period when the operation of the Corporation's flagship program, AmeriCorps, was suspended due to program management problems. On re-establishing smooth operation of the Corporation, Mr. Manning returned to the Department of Education and assumed the duties of Chief of Staff in FSA. He subsequently served as FSA’s Deputy COO and Acting COO as well as Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in 2005; and in 2006, he served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education.

After retiring from federal service in 2015, Mr. Manning worked as a self-employed consultant until he was called to join President Trump’s transition team. As the lead for the Trump Administration’s transition efforts at the Department of Education, Mr. Manning ensured a steady transition of leadership. On April 13, 2017, Secretary DeVos appointed Mr. Manning as Acting Under Secretary, where he brings his breadth of experience, skills as an administrator and a deep understanding of the workings of higher education issues all of which make him uniquely qualified for this position.

Mr. Manning makes his home in Virginia with his wife, Ann. They have four grown children.