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Office of the Press Secretary

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Gina S. Farrisee - Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Megan H. Mack  –  Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security
  • Melissa Savage – Member, Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust
  • C. Kenneth Smith – Member, Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust
  • David Sanders – Chairperson, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Theresa Martha Covington – Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Patricia M. Martin – Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Michael R. Petit – Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Jennifer Rodriguez – Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • David Rubin – Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
  • Rosemary A. Joyce – Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee
  • Alice T. Germond – Member, President’s Commission on White House Fellowships
  • Azita Raji – Member, President’s Commission on White House Fellowships 

President Obama said, “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Gina S. Farrisee, Appointee for Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs

Gina S. Farrisee is a 34 year veteran of the U.S. Army and currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Management at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a position she has held since 2013.  From 2010 to 2012, she served as a Commander of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.  From 2006 to 2010, she was Director of Military Personnel Management at the Department of the Army.   From 2004 to 2006, she served as Commander of the Soldier Support Institute at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC.  She served as Adjutant General at the Department of the Army from 2002 to 2004.  Other positions she has held during her Army career include Commanding General of the Physical Disability Agency and Director of the Military Postal Service Agency.  She received a B.A. from the University of Richmond and an M.S. from the National Defense University.

Megan H. Mack, Appointee for Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security

Megan H. Mack is the Director of the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, a position she has held since 2009.  Previously, Ms. Mack was the Associate Director of the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, from 2005 to 2009.  From 2002 to 2005, she was the Supervisor of Legal Services for Hogar Hispano, Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington in Falls Church, VA.  From 2000 to 2002, she was a Litigation Associate at Foley Hoag LLP in Boston, MA.  Ms. Mack served as a Law Clerk to Judge Fred I. Parker in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Burlington, VT from 1999 to 2000.  Ms. Mack received a B.A. from Brown University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Dr. Melissa Savage, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust

Dr. Melissa Savage is the Director of the Four Corners Institute, a position she has held since 2001.  She is also an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico.   She was first appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust in 2010.  Dr. Savage was an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1997 to 1998, and has been an Associate Professor Emerita since 1998.  Dr. Savage received a B.A. from Russell Sage College, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado.

Dr. C. Kenneth Smith, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust

Dr. C. Kenneth Smith is a Professor of Forestry and Geology and University Forester at the University of the South in Tennessee.  He was first appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust in 2010.  Previously, he served as Director of New Mexico’s Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute at Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico from 2007 to 2009.  Dr. Smith is a national board member for the Forest Guild, a member of the Kentucky-Tennessee chapter of the Society of American Foresters, and is an elected Board Member of the Franklin and Marion County Water Utility District.  He served on the Cherokee National Forest’s Resource Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2012, and was a Peace Corps forestry volunteer in Guinea, West Africa from 1986 to 1989.  Dr. Smith received a B.S. from Colorado State University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Dr. David Sanders, Appointee for Chairperson, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Dr. David Sanders is an Executive Vice President for Casey Family Programs, a position he has held since 2006.  Dr. Sanders previously served as the Director of the Los Angeles County Children and Family Services Department from 2003 to 2006.  From 1985 to 2003, Dr. Sanders worked at the Hennepin County Children, Family and Adult Services Department in Minneapolis.  He began his career at the Department as a Clinical Psychologist before becoming a Senior Clinical Psychologist in 1987, and later the Chief Clinical Psychologist in 1990.  Dr. Sanders went on to serve as Human Services Director for Children and Family Services from 1993 to 2001 and for Children Family and Adult Services during his final two years at the Department.  In 2003, Dr. Sanders received the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award, and the Peter W. Forsythe Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare in 2007.  Dr. Sanders received a B.A. in Psychology from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Theresa Martha Covington, Appointee for Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Theresa Martha Covington is the Director of the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths, a position she has held at the Michigan Public Health Institute since 2003.  From 1995 to 2009, she was Senior Program Director of the Michigan Public Health Institute's Child and Adolescent Health Program Area.  From 1989 to 1995, she managed the Northwestern Teen Health Center and the Beecher Teen Health Center.  From 1986 to 1987, she coordinated outreach programs for the Mott Children's Health Center, and from 1985 to 1987 she coordinated the Genesee Child Health Council.  She serves on the Board of Directors for Parent Heart Watch and on the Advisory Boards of the Children's Safety Network and the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review National Resource Center.  She received a B.S. from the University of Michigan and a M.P.H. from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Patricia M. Martin, Appointee for Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Patricia M. Martin is Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, a position she has held since 2000.  Her previous roles at the Circuit Court of Cook County include Judge of the Law Division from 1998 to 2000 and Judge of the Child Protection Division from 1996 to 1998.  From 1986 to 1996, she worked in various roles in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender; she was the Deputy Chief of the Fifth District from 1994 to 1996, an Attorney Trial Supervisor from 1989 to 1994, and an Assistant Public Defender from 1986 to 1989.  She is a member and past chair of the Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial Conference Study Committee on Juvenile Justice. She also formerly was president of the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.  She was a recipient of the C. F. Stradford Award from the Cook County State’s Attorney in 2007.  Judge Martin received a B.S. from Middlebury College and a J.D. from Northern Illinois University College of Law.

Michael R. Petit, Appointee for Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Michael R. Petit is the President and Founder of Every Child Matters Education Fund, a position he has held since 2001.  Previously, Mr. Petit served as Deputy Director of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) from 1995 to 2001 and as the Director of the CWLA National Center for Excellence in Child Welfare from 1990 to 1994.  From 1987 to 1990, Mr. Petit was Principal at Michael Petit Associates, where he consulted on child welfare issues to states and child welfare agencies.  Mr. Petit was Commissioner for the Maine Department of Human Services from 1979 to 1987 and a member of the National Governors Association Staff Advisory Council on Human Services from 1985 to 1986.  Mr. Petit received a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.S.W. from Boston College. 

Jennifer Rodriguez, Appointee for Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Jennifer Rodriguez is Executive Director of the Youth Law Center (YLC), a position she has held since 2012.  Ms. Rodriguez’s previous roles at YLC include Staff Attorney from 2008 to 2011 and Fellow from 2007 to 2008.  As a former foster child, Ms. Rodriguez is an advocate for vulnerable children and youth.  Prior to her work at the YLC, Ms. Rodriguez worked for the California Youth Connection as the Legislative and Policy Manager from 2002 to 2007 and a Youth Organizer from 1999 to 2002.  She is currently a board member of the California Youth Connection. She previously served as a board member of the California Court Appointed Special Advocates, and the National Association of Counsel for Children.  Ms. Rodriguez was the recipient of the 2007 California Foster Care Change a Lifetime Award.  She received a B.A. in Sociology and a J.D. from the University of California-Davis with an emphasis on public interest law. 

Dr. David Rubin, Appointee for Member, Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Dr. David Rubin is an Attending Pediatrician at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 2001.  Since 2009, he has also been an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine.  Since 2008, he has been the founding Co-Director of PolicyLab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a center that uses interdisciplinary research to inform programs and policies for children.  He previously served as the Director of Research & Policy from 2004 to 2011 and the Fellowship Director from 2003 to 2010 for Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health, a comprehensive program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that addresses critical issues associated with child abuse, neglect, and foster care.  Dr. Rubin received a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.D. from the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, and an M.S. in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. 

Rosemary A. Joyce, Appointee for Member, Cultural Property Advisory Committee

Rosemary A. Joyce is a Professor of Anthropology and former chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Berkeley.  She was first appointed to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee in 2011, and is a member of the Society for Historical Archaeology.  Ms. Joyce has served as an officer of the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association, and on committees of the Society for American Archaeology and the Archaeological Institute of America.  Ms. Joyce received an A.B. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois-Urbana.

Alice T. Germond, Appointee for Member, President’s Commission on White House Fellowships

Alice T. Germond is Secretary Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee.  She served as Secretary of the Democratic National Committee from 2002 to 2013.  Previously, she was Executive Vice President of NARAL Pro-Choice America from 1998 to 2002, while also serving as Acting President in 2002.  From 1995 to 1998, she consulted for several nonprofit organizations, including the AFL-CIO Working Women’s Division and the SEIU Political Department.  Ms. Germond held several senior positions at the Democratic National Committee from 1989 to 1996.  She served as a Commissioner on the California Council on Criminal Justice from 1976 to 1983 and the Los Angeles City-County Consolidation Commission from 1980 to 1983.  Ms. Germond received a B.A. from Bennington College and an M.S. from California State University, Los Angeles. 

Azita Raji, Appointee for Member, President’s Commission on White House Fellowships

Azita Raji is a Trustee of Barnard College, and is a founding Co-Chair of the Athena Leadership Council of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies.  She is Co-Chair of Barnard’s Development Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee, the Investment Committee, and the Strategic Planning Advisory Group.  Ms. Raji is a Chartered Financial Analyst.  Earlier in her career, she held senior positions at firms including JP Morgan Securities, Solomon Brothers, and Drexel Burnham Lambert.  She was National Finance Vice-Chair for Obama for America in 2012 and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Social Enterprise Program at Columbia Business School.  Ms. Raji received a B.A. in Architecture and French from Barnard College and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School.

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