There are a handful of names we hear either could run CNCS well, or want to run CNCS.
The most frequently uttered names, and likely the strongest candidates, are consultant Shirley Sagawa and Georgetown Law Professor Peter Edelman. Neither would discuss their possible candidacy.
Sagawa is co-founder of Sagawa/Jospin, a consulting firm that works for a number of youth-serving nonprofits. She was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady. Sagawa helped draft legislation that created the Corporation for National Service and AmeriCorps, then served as its first chief operating and policy officer. Her consulting partner, Deb Jospin, was director of AmeriCorps from 1997 to 2001.
Edelman is a well-known figure in all realms of youth services. He served as President Bill Clinton’s assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services, a post he left in protest after Clinton signed the welfare reform bill in 1996. In the late 1970s, he ran the New York Division for Youth. And he is married to Marian Wright Edelman, the president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.
There is some speculation, though, that Edelman would not be interested if Sagawa wants it and Obama wants her. One source says, though, it may be the case that Obama will tap someone with more of a national reputation as a venture capitalist for CNCS, and put a field-renowned person such as Sagawa in the White House office.
One leader in the “could-run-CNCS” category is Michelle Nunn, the CEO of the Atlanta-based Points of Light Institute. Nunn is well-known to the service field; she founded and ran the Hands on Network until 2007, when she merged it with Points of Light. But there is talk of a Senate run for Nunn, whose father Sam (D) held a Senate seat from Georgia from 1972 to 1997.
Alan Khazei, co-founder of City Year and now head of Be The Change, is another leader who does not appear to be interested in the job.
Two other names mentioned to Youth Today: Civic Ventures President John Gomperts and Tim Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics.
Gomperts has been with CNCS before. He was chief of staff there for former Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Penn.), who was CEO of CNCS from 1995 to 2001. Gomperts had previously served as deputy director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee, working for Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), now HHS secretary, and John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Shriver, a former high school teacher in New Haven, Conn., is part of the Kennedy family through his mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics in 1968; he is one of the three brothers of journalist and First Lady of California Maria Shriver.
Then again, both President Obama and Michelle Obama have scores of friends in the nonprofit world in and around Illinois, and running CNCS could be a job that goes to one of them.