Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs, U.S. Office of Education;
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare


Materials relating to the formulation and implementation of the public information program of the Office of Education, and the total public relations effort of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

0.2 linear feet (ca. 400 pages)

Shana Gordon (accession numbers 91-8 and 91-62)


Shana Gordon has donated to the United States of America her copyrights in all of her unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

Prepared by Helmi Raaska, September 1991
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Shana Gordon

April 6, 1940 - Born, Brooklyn, New York

1961 - B.S., University of New Mexico

1968 - M.A., University of New Mexico

1969 - Ph.D., University of New Mexico

1970-71 - Consultant, Institute for Advancement of Urban Education

1971 - Consultant/Expert, U.S. Office of Education

1971-72 - Consultant/Expert, Institute for Educational Development

EFeb.-July 1972 - Contractor, National Center for Educational Research and Development, U.S. Office of Education

July-Sept. 1972 - Chief, Consultant/Coordinator of Synthesis Group, Institute for the Advancement of Urban Education

1972-75 - Consultant, Senior Associate, and Assistant to the Director, National Institute of Education

Dec. 1975-Aug. 1976 - Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs, U.S. Office of Education, HEW

Aug. 1976-Jan. 1977 - Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HEW

(1981)-- President, Shana Gordon Associates, Incorporated


Shana Gordon held various positions at the National Institute of Education before coming to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). At HEW she was Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs, U.S. Office of Education (OE), from December 1975 to August 1976, when President Ford appointed her Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

Gordon's role at the Office of Education was to formulate, direct, and coordinate the public information program; implement Secretary Mathews's directive to open up HEW to greater citizen involvement and public interaction; advise the Commissioner on interests, attitudes, and concerns of the public; and serve as the Commissioner's liaison with the public. One example of Gordon's fulfillment of these responsibilities is a comparison of the Seventh Annual Gallup Poll of Public Attitudes Toward Education with the public statements of Commissioner T. H. Bell. Gordon found a high degree of compatibility between the posture of OE and citizen concerns.

As an Assistant Secretary of HEW, Gordon was responsible for the entire public affairs effort of the Department and its regional offices. The mission statement described her role as one of "communicating, educating, and involving." This included developing public affairs policy, coordinating public affairs activities for HEW and with other departments and the White House, providing editorial and media assistance, coordinating news media announcements, and administering the Freedom of Information Act. During her tenure Gordon established two committees, a Public Affairs Policy Planning Committee and a Committee for Freedom of Information Policy and Education. She also drafted proposals for restructuring and staffing the public affairs office and establishing a visitors' center. At the end of the Ford administration she compiled an extensive report which addressed management issues and included summaries of public affairs activities in the Department, agencies, and regional offices. Gordon used this report in briefings with members of President Carter's transition team.

Scope and Content of the Gordon Papers
The Gordon Papers, 1975-77, are from the fourteen months she worked at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Approximately 130 pages relate to public information activities in OE and the remainder relates to public relations for all of HEW. The papers consist primarily of memoranda, proposals, and reports documenting her efforts to improve public understanding and acceptance of the Department's goals, and to encourage citizen input and participation. The papers reflect President Ford's interest in openness in government and in citizen involvement, and Secretary Mathews's directive to open up the Department to a greater degree of public interaction.

Related Materials (September 1991)
Materials relating to HEW and OE, although not necessarily to public relations, may be found in White House Central Files Subject File categories FG 23 and FG 23-6. The files of David Lissy, Associate Director of the Domestic Council for Education, Labor, and Veterans, include an education subject file. The papers of Secretary David Mathews are available at the Ford Library on microfilm. Researchers must obtain written permission to use the microfilm.


Subject File, 1975-77.  (Box 1, 0.2 linear feet)
Memoranda, proposals, and reports relating to public relations in the U.S. Office of Education and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Included are proposals for restructuring and staffing the office of public affairs, developing a visitors' center at HEW, and summaries of public affairs activities during the Ford administration.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Subject File

  • Education, Office of
  • Education, Office of - Quotes from Speeches and Statements by Commissioner T.H. Bell
  • Health, Education, and Welfare, Department of (1)-(2)
  • Public Affairs in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
    - Part I, Department Summary
    - Part II, Agency Summaries
    - Part III, Regional Summary
    - Part IV, Management Issues