Sara Martinez Tucker is the under secretary of education, the Department's top higher education official. She was nominated to her post by President George W. Bush on Sept. 5, 2006, and confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 9, 2006. As under secretary, she oversees all policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid. She also is leading efforts to carry out the recommendations from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' Commission on the Future of Higher Education, which called for expanding the accessibility, affordability, and accountability of postsecondary education for all Americans.
Prior to joining the Department, Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she pursued an aggressive goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees by 2010. In her time at the helm of HSF, Tucker raised $280 million for scholarships and community outreach programs to raise college expectations in Latino families and communities. In 2005, she also agreed to serve on the Secretary's Higher Ed Commission—the group whose recommendations she is now tasked with implementing.
Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, she enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her bachelor's degree with honors in journalism in 1976. She worked for two years as a general assignments reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to the University of Texas to earn her master's in business administration with high honors in 1979.
Prior to joining HSF in 1997, Tucker spent 16 years at AT&T, becoming the first Latina to reach the company's executive level. In her last assignment at the company, she served as a regional vice president for AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems, where she led a $400 million division to its highest profit levels. Prior to this, she was vice president for Consumer Operations, a $370 million operation with 6,500 employees serving AT&T's 80 million consumers. Under her leadership, this group contributed to the division's receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award.
Throughout her career, Tucker has served on many boards and committees, including Toyota's Diversity Advisory Board, the National Center for Educational Accountability and the National Scholarship Providers Association.
Among her many awards and honors, Tucker was named Hispanic of the Year in 2000 by Hispanic magazine, and, in 2005, Time magazine named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States.
Tucker's husband, Greg, has a management consulting practice in San Francisco.