President-elect Barack Obama has selected the public schools chief from the city of Chicago to head the U.S. Department of Education.
Mr. Obama Tuesday named Arne Duncan as his choice for education secretary. He praised Duncan for his work reforming the Chicago school system, which is the third-largest in the country.
Mr. Obama described Duncan as an independent thinker who is not bound to any particular ideology.
The president-elect said improving the public education system is essential for the United States to remain a global economic leader in the 21st century.
Mr. Obama also is meeting with members of his economic team Tuesday, including his choice for treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner. The meeting comes as new reports show more evidence the U.S. economy is getting worse.
Later this week, the president-elect is expected to nominate Democratic Senator Ken Salazar of the western state of Colorado as interior secretary, the department which oversees the nation's national parks and the natural resources on government-managed land.
Salazar is serving his first term in the Senate, having been elected in 2004. He previously served for several years as head of Colorado's natural resources department.
The U.S. Interior Department manages more than 200 million hectares of land, including scores of national parks, and oversees the commercial use of the land, including logging and oil and gas drilling.