(CNSNews.com) – Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and head of the Obama administration’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools since July 2009, is leaving his post to lead a non-profit coalition-building organization.
Jennings, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, is slated to be the next president and CEO of Be the Change, which “creates national issue based campaigns by organizing coalitions of non-profits, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, private sector and civic leaders, academics, and citizens,” according to a press release issued by the organization on May 19 about hiring Jennings.
Jennings, scheduled to start his new job in July 2011, will replace Alan Khazei, who founded Be the Change and ran an unsuccessful campaign against now-Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to win the seat left by the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
“We are delighted to draw a leader of Kevin’s caliber to succeed Alan,” said Be the Change Board Chairman Josh Bekenstein. “His experience both leading a national non-profit as well as working with the federal government makes him the ideal leader to take the reigns as Alan takes on new challenges.”
Obama’s appointment of Jennings has been controversial, with his advocacy of gay rights, including homosexual marriage, often becoming part of his message as a government official. In April, he spoke at an assembly at a public school in Maryland where he compared those who oppose homosexuality to supporters of slavery and racial segregation, as reported by CNSNews.com.
In the press release about his new position, Jennings’ homosexual activism was touted, including the fact that during his 14-year tenure at GLSEN he increased the number of school-based and student-lead clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances, from 50 in 1995 to 4,300 when he stepped down as the head of the organization in 2008.
Jennings’ boss at the Department of Education, Secretary Arne Duncan, wished Jennings “all the best” in his new job, according to a statement issued by the department.
Jennings’ own commentary on his old job and new post expressed his “excitement” about being in the non-profit sector again.
“It has been an honor to serve in the Obama administration and specifically on Secretary Duncan's leadership team at the Department of Education,” Jennings said. “I am incredibly excited to return to the nonprofit sector by joining the Be the Change team and working on issues like promoting public service and increasing economic opportunity, the kinds of critical challenges we must solve if America is to continue to thrive in the 21st century.”