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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Addresses Full Staff

 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos began her first day in office by thanking and praising the Department's career employees for ensuring a smooth and professional transition. DeVos addressed the staff at the Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Prior to her remarks, DeVos began the morning by visiting staff located at the Union Center Plaza and Potomac Center Plaza buildings, and continued meeting with staff one-on-one upon concluding her remarks.

Below are highlights from DeVos' remarks. A full copy of her prepared remarks can be found here.

Let me start simply, by saying "thank you" to each of you – those here in the Department and those across the country who work every day to make education better.

Americans have tremendous respect for all of those within and outside of these walls who work to make more opportunity available through better education.

I am here to serve—with you. I am committed to working with everyone and anyone—from every corner of the country, from every walk of life, from every background, and with those who supported my nomination and those who did not—to protect, strengthen and create new world-class education opportunities for America's students. Together, we have a noble and consequential mission to serve. There is no greater achievement in the world than positively changing the life of a child by bending the arc or breaking the cycle through education. This is what motivates me. This is why education as a lifelong pursuit is my passion. I know this is a passion we share.

In building strong teams, embracing diversity and inclusion are key elements for success. Diversity may be viewed as cliché, but I believe that getting to know, working with, befriending and including people who are different from ourselves is enriching and expanding. And if we model it ourselves, how much easier will it be to encourage students to do the same?

In addition to modeling inclusion and a love of life-long learning, the Department also has a unique role in protecting students. We believe students deserve learning environments that foster innovation and curiosity, and are also free from harm. While we may have disagreements, we can –and must—come together, find common ground and put the needs of our students first. And when we do disagree, let us set an example by being sincere and honest, passionate but civil, while never losing sight of our shared mission. To everyone on this team, my challenge to you is simple: Be bold, think big and act to serve students. And I will promise you this: Together, we will find new ways in which we can positively transform education.