Emma Vadehra is a senior fellow at American Progress. Vadehra serves as an independent consultant to education organizations, providing strategy, programmatic, operations and policy support to organizations focused on improving student outcomes and closing the achievement gap. She previously served in the Obama administration as chief of staff to Secretaries John King and Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education. In that role, Vadehra worked closely with the White House and across the department to develop, execute, and oversee the administration’s pre-K through college education agenda. She also managed the department’s policy, budget, legislative affairs, and P-12 education offices, as well as oversaw hiring, development, and retention of a diverse, high-performing political appointee team.
Prior to serving at the department, Vadehra served as chief of staff at Uncommon Schools, a charter school management organization that builds and manages high-performing urban charter schools serving low-income students. From 2009 to 2011, she served as deputy assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the Department of Education, overseeing K-12 education policy development and issues related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Vadehra has also served as the senior education counsel for former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), focusing on K-12 education, student loans, and national service policy.
Vadehra has a J.D. from Yale Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.