Branstad asks Register editor to serve as advisor

Governor-elect Terry Branstad has asked the editorial page editor of The Des Moines Register to serve on his top advisor on education.  Linda Lantor Fandel will be a part of Branstad’s internal staff, closer to the governor than Jason Glass, the 39-year-old Branstad has asked to serve as director of the Iowa Department of Education.

Fandel was the lead questioner when Branstad met with The Register’s editorial board before the election. From Fandel’s profile on The Register’s website, her own words:

“I was thrilled to land a job as a reporter covering education for The Des Moines Register in 1986. Time magazine had recently named the newspaper one of the top 10 in the country. Still, I couldn’t imagine living in the Midwest for long. Growing up in Washington state, going to college in California, then starting my journalism career in Washington, D.C., my orientation was the coasts.

In fact, when I lived in the Washington, D.C., area, a friend told me about growing up in Des Moines. I remember feeling sorry for her because I assumed it must be a pretty dull place.

Now, I feel like the lucky one.

Nearly 20 years after arriving at the Register, I’ve got one of the best jobs in journalism anywhere. Iowans care deeply about their communities and their state. It’s a great privilege writing editorials to help further the conversation about issues that affect people’s lives, now and into the future.

Iowa also has lived up to its reputation as a wonderful place to raise a family. I’m married to Register photographer Gary Fandel, and we have two children in public schools. That makes covering education, one of my beats on the editorial page, especially meaningful.

It also means I’ve produced two Iowans, which makes me at least an honorary Iowan, and proud of it.”

The Branstad transition team’s news release about the appointment is below.

Branstad names Linda Lantor Fandel as governor’s special assistant for education
(URBANDALE) – Gov.-elect Terry Branstad today announced that Linda Lantor Fandel will serve as the governor’s special assistant for education in the Branstad/Reynolds administration.

“I am excited to bring Linda into our administration, and will draw upon her extensive knowledge of the world’s education systems as we work to make Iowa’s schools the best in the country,” said Branstad. “Jason Glass and Linda Lantor Fandel will be a formidable team, as they both care deeply about the direction of education in our state, and they will energize Iowans with a forward-looking agenda for Iowa’s students.”

Fandel, 54, has been The Des Moines Register’s editorial-page editor since July 2009. Prior to that she spent more than 20 years covering education in Iowa as a reporter, editorial writer and deputy editorial-page editor. Fandel’s project looking at how Iowa — and the nation — could have world-class schools won several journalism awards in 2008 and 2009.

She graduated in 1978 from Scripps College/Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna College) with a B.A. in political science with honors. She attended graduate school in Russian studies at Georgetown University before her first job in journalism at the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland.

She went on to work for the Journal Newspapers in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and the Baltimore News-American before coming to the Register in 1986. Fandel is a native of Kennewick, Wash.

“Iowa’s children must be ready to compete with young people around the globe for high-skilled jobs when they grow up,” said Fandel. “That calls for making sure our young people are as well prepared as those in Canada and other countries that rank among top school systems internationally. Iowa has a tradition of a strong commitment to education. Serving as special assistant for education in the Branstad/Reynolds administration is a great opportunity to help shape that commitment for the future.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.