HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont is applauding the announcement on Friday that the Biden administration has selected Nick Simmons to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Education for School Reopening and Recovery in a position that will have him coordinating efforts on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education to safely reopen schools across the country and help school communities recover from the detrimental impacts on student learning from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simmons, a resident of Stamford, has worked in Governor Lamont’s office since 2019 as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Policy Advisor. In this position, he has taken a lead role on behalf of the Office of the Governor to coordinate with the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Connecticut Department of Public Health on the safe reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, closing the K-12 digital divide, and supporting students with remote learning.
Connecticut has been lauded by educational experts across the country for its performance on supporting student learning during the pandemic. The state has been able to offer more students an in-school learning option than any other state in the northeast. Connecticut was also the first state in the nation to close the K-12 digital divide for its students by providing a laptop and at-home internet connection to every student who indicated a need, in addition to setting up one of the most comprehensive school and student data collection systems in the nation that allowed the state to track student attendance and the number of schools offering in-school instruction each week.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way schools function in nearly every capacity, and I am proud of the way Connecticut’s education officials, teachers, and staff have been able to respond in order to ensure that students continue to receive a quality education,” Governor Lamont said. “From the outset, Nick has worked to help coordinate these efforts for my office, and I appreciate the time and energy he has contributed on behalf of the students of Connecticut. The Biden administration has made a good choice, and I’m excited that Connecticut will have another one of our residents representing our state on a national scale.”
“I am humbled by the opportunity to support Secretary Cardona and the Biden administration with the critical work of safely reopening schools across the nation and supporting these school communities with the difficult task of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Simmons said. “Connecticut was only able to achieve its educational results this year because of the terrific leadership of Governor Lamont, Secretary Cardona, Acting Commissioner Russell-Tucker, countless others across state agencies, and the courageous teachers and school leaders all across the state. It has been a pleasure to serve alongside them and I look forward to leveraging the lessons learned from Connecticut at the national level.”