USA POLITICS: Betsy DeVos Biography And Profile
Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos was born on January 8, 1958. She is a proven leader, an innovator, a disruptor and an advocate. In education, in business and in politics, Betsy has been a pioneer in fighting to remove barriers, to enact change and to create environments where people have the opportunity to thrive.
Transforming American Education
As chairman of the American Federation for Children (AFC), the nation’s leading school choice advocacy group, Betsy has been a national leader in the fight to boldly reform America’s broken education system by giving parents more options for their children’s education. As a result of AFC’s work, over one million children are now in the school of their parents’ choice, instead of being trapped by their zip code in a school that failed to meet their needs.
She has also fostered new educational opportunities locally in West Michigan. In 2010, at Betsy’s encouragement, her husband, Dick DeVos, founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a public charter high school that combines their mutual passion for education with Dick’s love of aviation.
Betsy also serves on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.
Betsy has regularly mentored students through Kids Hope USA, an organization that connects adult mentors in local churches with at-risk elementary students for at least an hour a week.
Starting in 1989 along with, Dick, Betsy started the Windquest Group, where she serves as Chairman. The Windquest Group invests in a family of companies that provide innovative solutions, services and products that make the world better.
Betsy’s political involvement has spanned more than 35 years, beginning with her time as a volunteer for President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. Her political service has included numerous Republican leadership roles with campaigns, party organizations and political action committees—many with a focus on education choice and reform. Betsy was elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party four times (1996-2005) and served on the Republican National Committee (1992-1998).
With her lifelong interest in art and design, Betsy was nominated by former President George W. Bush to serve on the Board of Trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She and Dick later funded the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. The Institute focuses on the business side of art—training, supporting and empowering arts managers and their boards on an international scale.
Additionally, she serves on the board and actively participates in ArtPrize, a 19-day, Grand Rapids-based international art competition founded by her son, Rick DeVos.
A graduate of Holland Christian High School, Betsy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Betsy is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist Dick DeVos, and together, they have four children and five grandchildren.
Current Board and Leadership Positions:
- The Windquest Group: Chairman, 1993–Present
- American Federation for Children: Member, 2008–2009; Chairman, 2009–Present
- Alliance for School Choice: Chairman, 2009–Present; Member, Board of Directors, 2004
- ArtPrize: Board Member, 2009–Present
- Philanthropy Roundtable: Board Member, Dec. 2014–Present
- Foundation for Excellence in Education: Board Member, 2012–Present
- DeVos Institute for Arts Management: Board Member, 2010–Present
- Great Lakes Education Project: Chairman, 2001–2008; Board Member, 2008–Present
- The Potter’s House School: Member, Advisory Board, 1994–Present
– Betsy DeVos Biography And Profile
Update: Education nominee Betsy DeVos Wins Senate Confirmation Vote (07 Feb. 2017)
President Donald Trump’s choice of billionaire Betsy DeVos to be education secretary was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, but only after Vice President Mike Pence was called in to break a tie that threatened to defeat her. The tie-breaking vote, which Senate officials said was unprecedented to confirm a Cabinet nominee, followed an all-night debate on DeVos as Senate Democrats tried to pressure at least one more Republican to oppose her and defeat the nomination.
Only two Republicans joined the 46 Democrats and two independents in opposition to DeVos. Critics have called her unprepared to lead the Department of Education after a rocky Senate confirmation hearing.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer immediately derided the proceeding.
“This cabinet nom is so unqualified, so divisive, that @MikePenceVP had to drive down Pennsylvania Ave to cast the deciding vote,” he wrote in a Twitter post after the vote