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Gang of 14

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) has added several new staffers to the majority staff of his Education and Labor Committee. And by several, Hill Climbers actually means more than a dozen. Let the games begin.

Joining the committee as senior disability policy adviser is Theda Zawaiza, 53. [IMGCAP(1)]

Prior to assuming her new position, Zawaiza served as chief of staff for then-Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) since 2005. In 2004 she was the site coordinator in Washington, D.C.’s public schools for the National Institute for Urban School Improvement at the University of Colorado. From 2002 to 2003 she worked as a consultant to the National Council on Disability, and from 1999 to 2002 she was an expert consultant and senior policy adviser for the Social Security Administration’s office of employment support programs. She also has worked as United Cerebral Palsy Association Inc.’s national director of public policy, as special assistant for equity at the Education Department, as senior policy analyst and adviser at the Education Department, district director for the 11th Congressional district office, as senior legislative analyst for House Education and Labor subcommittee on select education and civil rights, and as a curriculum consultant and learning handicapped specialist for the school district of Santa Barbara, Calif.

While Zawaiza’s résumé is both long and impressive, perhaps the most unique position she has held was nanny for the son of Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colgate University in 1974 and a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California in 1983. In 1990, she earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

She wrote in an e-mail that in addition to her degrees, she is a “certified massage therapist, [and] a student of yoga and muy thai.” [IMGCAP(2)]

Also new to the committee is Brian Kennedy, 47. He will work as general counsel for labor.

Previously, Kennedy worked as deputy national director of Job Corps, general counsel to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), staff director for the late Sen. Paul Simon’s (D-Ill.) subcommittee on employment and productivity, labor coordinator and counsel to the Education and Labor Committee (then the Education and Workforce Committee), and special assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Counsel.

Kennedy received his bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

Serving as general counsel for education is Stephanie Moore.

Prior to her new position, Moore served as judiciary counsel for then-Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Mel Watt (D-N.C.). She also worked as general counsel to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and has taught at the Rutgers School of Law Constitutional Litigation Clinic, the University of the District of Columbia School of Law, Howard University School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania.

Moore also was a law clerk for the late Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr.

From Birmingham, Ala., Moore earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a law degree from Harvard University. While at Harvard, she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Ryan Holden, 33, will work as the committee’s senior investigator.

Before joining the committee, he worked as a forensic auditor for the Government Accountability Office since 2002. From 1997 to 2002 he was an account manager for Thomas Built Buses, and from 1995 to 1997 he worked as a senior accountant at Arthur Andersen.

From Marysville, Mich., Holden earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Xavier University in 1995. He went on to become a certified public accountant in 1997 and a certified fraud examiner in 2006.

Alejandra Ceja, 32, comes to the committee as senior budget and appropriations analyst.

Previously, Ceja was a program examiner at the Office of Management and Budget since 1999. From 1997 to 1998 she worked as a legislative assistant to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), and from 1996 to 1997 she was a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Fellow.

Ceja wrote in an e-mail that she was “part of the first class of AmeriCorps members who helped rebuild Los Angles after the 1994 riots.” She also said she “enjoy[s] taking Flamenco classes.”

From Huntington Park, Calif., Ceja received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1996 and a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College in 1999.

Megan O’Reilly, 30, will work as a labor policy adviser for the committee.

Before accepting her new job, O’Reilly worked as a law clerk for Baker & McKenzie since 2005. From 2004 to 2005 she held that same position for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and for McCarthy Duffy. O’Reilly worked as an executive assistant and legislative assistant to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) from 1998 to 2003.

A native of Exeter, N.H., O’Reilly graduated from American University in 1998. She earned a law degree from DePaul University in 2006.

Serving as special assistant to the staff director is Elizabeth Hollis, 48.

Previously, Hollis worked as special assistant to the director of the National Institute for Literacy. She also worked as an executive assistant to the president for the Council for Opportunity in Education, and as an administrative assistant on the House Education and Labor Committee (which was then the Education and the Workforce Committee).

From Chester, Pa., Hollis graduated from Cheyney State College, now known as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, in 1980.

Ann-Frances Lambert, 31, will work as the special assistant to the education policy director.

Before making the jump to the committee, Lambert worked as a consultant for The Virginia-Nebraska Alliance Coalition from 2005 to 2006. She also worked as a legislative specialist for the City of Richmond, Va. While attending college, Lambert served as a staff assistant to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).

Since 2003, Lambert has been the co-owner with her siblings of The Hyperlink Café in her hometown of Richmond.

A 1997 graduate of Howard University, Lambert plans to attend American University in the fall to earn a master’s degree in film and television production.

Lamont Ivey, 24, is a staff assistant for eduction policy on the committee. Previously, Ivey interned for Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) during the summers of 2003 and 1999.

The Roswell, Ga., native currently is a senior studying industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Sarah Dyson, 22, is a staff assistant for the committee. She previously worked as a legislative assistant for a state Representative in Pennsylvania.

From Maplewood, N.J., Dyson graduated from Dickinson College in May 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in policy studies.

Lisette Partelow, 25, also will work as a staff assistant for the committee. During the fall of 2006, Partelow was an intern on the committee.

Before her committee internship, Partelow interned in the office of Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski during the summer of 2006. From 2003 to 2005 she was a research assistant at American Institutes for Research. She also interned for the Child Welfare League of America during the summer of 2001.

In an e-mail Partelow described herself as a “runner,” a “devoted Economist reader” and a “[Sen.] Barack Obama (D-Ill.) fanatic.”

A graduate of Connecticut College in 2003, Partelow currently is on a one-year leave from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where she is working on a master’s degree in public affairs. She is from Hamilton, N.Y.

Working as a press and outreach assistant on the committee is Danielle Lee, 23.

Previously, Lee worked as a press assistant for the AARP at the end of 2006. During the summer of 2006, Lee was a press intern in Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) office. She also interned in then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office during the summer of 2005.

A 2006 graduate of Smith College with a degree in government, Lee is from Walnut Creek, Calif.

Sara Lonardo, 23, will work as a staff assistant for the committee.

Lonardo previously worked as a field organizer for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) campaign for Senate in 2006. She also was a press intern in the office of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) during 2005 and a college outreach/volunteer coordinator for the Florida Democratic Party in 2004. In 2003 she worked as a canvasser for Rhode Island Public Interest Research Group.

In an e-mail, Lonardo wrote that “this is the first time since fifth grade I haven’t been on a sports team … over the years I’ve played softball, rugby, basketball, wrestling, and field hockey.”

From Warwick/East Greenwich, R.I., Lonardo graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2006. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy with a focus in poverty and welfare studies.

Finally, Michael Gaffin, 23, also will work as a staff assistant on the committee.

A graduate of Bowling Green State University in 2006, Gaffin is from Grand Rapids, Mich. He wrote in an e-mail that he is a scratch golfer.

“I look forward to working with these new staff members on our common goal of growing and strengthening America’s middle class,” Chairman Miller said in a statement. “I have no doubt that the talented team we have assembled will help the Committee achieve important goals for the American people.”

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