This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Assistant General Counsel

Department:Department Of Education

Agency:Office of the General Counsel

Job Announcement Number:OGC-2013-0007

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$119,554.00 to $179,700.00 / Per Year


Monday, April 01, 2013 to Wednesday, May 01, 2013




Full Time - Permanent


1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington, DC, USView Map


Announcement open to all U.S. citizens.

You must fully address each ECQ and MTQ if you fail to do so , you will be rated as ineligible.


The Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.  Our employees are responsible for:

  • Establishing policies on Federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.
  • Collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research.
  • Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
  • Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

This position is in the Senior Executive Service (SES), a small elite group of senior government leaders who possess a diverse portfolio of experience and the strong skills required to lead across organizations.  As a member of the SES you will be charged with providing strategic leadership and upholding a commitment to public service that transcends loyalty to a specific agency mission or individual profession.  You will be expected to influence the direction of innovation and transformation of the Federal government and lead the next generation of public servants.  Your pay increases and bonuses, if awarded, will be based entirely on performance results.


This position is located in the Office of the General Counsel. 


  • U.S. citizenship required
  • A one-year probationary period is required upon initial SES appointment


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The Assistant General Counsel (AGC) for the Division of Early, Elementary, Secondary, Adult, and Vocational Education (DESAVE) is within the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the General Counsel.  The AGC plays an integral role in ensuring the legality, consistency, clarity, and accuracy of policy and programmatic decisions involving early learning, elementary, secondary, adult, and career technical and vocational education programs administered by the Department.  The AGC advises the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, officials within OGC, and other Departmental officials on issues involving these programs.  As an advisor, the AGC provides a wide-range of substantive knowledge and legal advice on complex areas of constitutional law; administrative law; Federal grant law; numerous education laws such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act; and other legal authorities.  This position supervises approximately 18-20 attorneys and other personnel.


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As a basic requirement for entry into the SES, you must have progressively responsible executive leadership and supervisory experience that is indicative of senior executive level managerial capability.  This experience should be sufficiently broad in scope and at a major management level in a large or complex organization.  The ideal candidate will have experience supervising a large number of employees through subordinate supervisors and have experience hiring, developing, and, evaluating employees.  Typically, experience of this nature will have been gained at or above the GS-15 grade level in the Federal service, or its equivalent with state or local government, the private sector, or a non-governmental organization.  Your experience should demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully fulfill responsibilities inherent in most SES positions such as:

  • Directing the work of an organizational unit;
  • Ensuring the success of one or more specific major programs or projects;
  • Monitoring progress toward strategic organizational goals,evaluating organizational performance and taking action to improve performance;
  • Supervising the work of employees; and
  • Exercising important policy-making, policy-determining, or other executive functions.

If your experience does not include these basic qualifications you will not be determined qualified for this position.

You must fully address each ECQ and MTQ if you fail to do so , you will be rated as ineligible.


The following five ECQs and the Fundamental Competencies are the primary selection criteria for SES positions.  The ECQs were developed to assess executive experience and potential - not to evaluate technical expertise.  ECQs measure whether an individual has the broad executive skills needed to succeed in a variety of SES positions.

 1.  Leading Change:  This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals.  Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. (Competencies:  creativity and innovation, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking, vision)

 2.  Leading People:  This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals.  Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts. (Competencies:  conflict management, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building)

 3.  Results Driven:  This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations.  Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.  (Competencies:  accountability, customer service, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, technical credibility)

 4.  Business Acumen:  This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.  (Competencies:  financial management, human capital management, technology management)

 5.  Building Coalitions:  This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.  (Competencies:  partnering, political savvy, influencing/negotiating)

 Fundamental Competencies:  The following cross-cutting competencies are the foundation for success in each of the ECQs.  Interpersonal Skills; Oral Communication; Integrity/Honesty; Written Communication; Continual Learning; and Public Service Motivation. 

 Additional information on the ECQs is available at

You must possess a J.D. or LL.M from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be a member in good standing of a bar in a state/territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


1. Knowledge of the Federal, state, and local statues, regulations, case law, and interpretive guidance impacting the delivery of education services at the Preschool – Grade 12 level and adult career vocational education and the work of the Department.

2. Demonstrated experience in applying legal knowledge through executive-level legal counseling, managing litigation, and client representation.

3. Experience managing and coordinating projects and teams.

4.  Leading Continuous Process Improvement and Analytical Problem Solving:  Demonstrated experiences in solving complex problems and utilizing data analysis to lead a strategic approach for developing a culture of continuous improvement in the areas of reliably, process cycle time, cost, quality and productivity.  (Competencies:  benchmarking, business process and quality management, problem structuring, data gathering, data analysis, findings synthesis, option and recommendation development.)  Your narrative for this MTQ must include descriptions of how you led a strategic approach for developing a culture of continuous improvement and improvements you have led in the areas of reliability, process cycle times, cost-effectiveness, quality and productivity.  Additionally, you should cite examples that demonstrate your ability to solve complex and potentially ambiguous problems using a full range of analytical techniques including problem structuring, data-gathering, data analysis, findings synthesis, option and recommendation development.

Other Requirements
Public Financial Disclosure.  The Ethics in Government Act, PL 95-521 requires the applicant selected for this position to submit a financial disclosure statement, SF-278, prior to assuming the SES position, annually, and upon termination of employment.  

Selective Service.  As a condition of employment, all male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must have registered for the selective service.  If selected for this position, the applicant must sign a statement certifying his registration, or the applicant must demonstrate exempt status under the Selective Service Law. 

Mobility.  Organizational and geographical mobility is essential in developing and managing SES leaders and generally is a key to advancement. Therefore, applicants are expected to be mobile and once appointed SES members may be reassigned at the discretion of the appointing authority  

Drug Testing. If this position is designated as a Testing Designated Position (TDP), you may be required to have a pre-employment drug test and be subject to periodic random drug testing. 

Declaration for Federal Employment, OF-306. Before you are hired, you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your application. 

Background Investigation. You will be subject to a background investigation based on your specific duties and responsibilities. This may include investigation of criminal records, credit check, driving record, military records and/or verification of Federal student loan indebtedness.


You must fully address each ECQ and MTQ if you fail to do so , you will be rated as ineligible.

Your resume and narrative responses to the five ECQs and MTQs will be reviewed as follows.  Responses that are not supported by your resume will eliminate you from consideration.  You may be eliminated from consideration at any step in this process. 

  1. Application Completeness.  Incomplete or late packages will not receive further consideration and no attempts will be made to obtain missing information.
  2. Basic Qualification Determination
  3. Executive Core Qualification Determination
  4. Mandatory Technical Qualification Determination
  5. Ranking panel assessment of ECQs and MTQs
  6. Structured interviews to determine Best Qualified (BQ) applicants
  7. Tentative selection by nominating organization (May include additional screening)
  8. ED Executive Resources Board (ERB) assessment and certification
  9. Approval by the Selecting Official (May include additional screening)
  10. OPM Qualifications Review Board (QRB) Certification

To preview questions please click here.


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The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package.  Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at

In addition to the regular benefits offered to Federal employees, ED offers the following benefits to its employees:


Time Off for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Transit Benefit and Metro Subsidy

Fitness Center


Relocation expenses are included/authorized.

Veteran's Preference.  Veteran's Preference does not apply to the SES.

Social Security Number. Your Social Security Number is requested under the authority of Executive Order 9397 to uniquely identify your records from those of other applicants who may have the same name. As allowed by law or Presidential directive, your Social Security Number is used to seek information about you from employers, schools, banks, and others who may know you. Failure to provide your Social Security Number on your application materials will result in your application not being processed.

Privacy Act Notice (PL 93-579). The information requested here is used to determine qualifications for employment and is authorized under Title 5 U.S.C. 3302 and 3361.

False Statements.  If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be fired after you begin work; or you may be subject to fine, imprisonment, or other disciplinary action.

Non Discrimination. All applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, age, sex, sexual orientation, disabling condition, membership in an employee organization, or any other non-merit factors.

Reasonable Accommodations. Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, you should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.


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You must submit a compete online application package (including resume, vacancy questions and supporting documents) no later than midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement.

  • To begin, click the Apply Online button on the job announcement posting to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.
  • Follow the directions to register and submit all required documents.
  • You may review your saved application(s) at


You must fully address each ECQ and MTQ if you fail to do so , you will be rated as ineligible.

1.    Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Required for all applicants except noncompetitive applicants. This document carries the greatest weight in your selection and is the basis for your final consideration for certification in the Senior Executive Service.  You must submit a narrative statement for each ECQ describing work experiences that reflect proven, demonstrated success in meeting these requirements.   You must address each ECQ separately. You are required to respond to all ECQs. If you fail to do so, you will be rated as 'ineligible.' 

The preferred format for your response is the CCAR Model (Challenge/Context/Action/Results). Simply, you should pick 1-2 work experiences per ECQ and write a story using this outline of the CCAR Model: 
a. Challenge: Describe a specific problem or goal that you faced in a job.
b. Context: Describe the individuals and groups you worked with, and/or the environment in which you worked to tackle a particular challenge (e.g., clients, co-workers, Members of Congress, shrinking budget, low morale.) Describe how that context influenced how the problem evolved; why it was important; and what complicated resolving it.
c. Action: Discuss the specific action you took to address the challenge.  Be specific about what you did so you can show the nexus between your action and the impact on the final solution.
d. Results: Give specific examples of the results of your actions (e.g. process improvements, money saved, increased efficiency, productivity or customer satisfaction).  These accomplishments demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your leadership skills.
Your examples should emphasize your level of responsibilities, scope and complexity of programs managed, program accomplishments with results of your actions, policy initiatives and level of contacts.  ECQs measure of demonstrated performance.  Education or training alone in a particular ECQ is not qualifying experience.  References to training and education should be limited to those that specifically supplement your executive work experience.

The narrative for your ECQs must not exceed 10 pages in total. It is recommended that each ECQ narrative be no more than two pages.   

Applicants preparing ECQs for the first time should expect to spend approximately 40 hours writing and refining the narrative responses, so you should plan accordingly to meet the application deadline.

Tips on writing a good ECQ narrative, guidance on the CCAR model, and sample approved ECQs are available at

When uploading your ECQs, choose the Supporting Document Type called "ECQ." 

2.  ECQ Exemption for Non Competitive Applicants: If you are a career SES appointee, eligible for reinstatement into the SES or a graduate of an OPM-certified Candidate Development Program you do not have to submit ECQs, but you must submit MTQs and all other Required Documents. 

3Resume - Ensure that your resume contains your full name, address, phone number and e-mail address.  Additionally, we recommend you include job titles, salaries, employers' names and addresses, supervisor's names and phone numbers (indicate if we may contact your current and former supervisors), starting and ending dates of employment. Your resume needs to emphasize your level or responsibilities, the scope and complexity of programs managed, and your program accomplishments, including the results of your actions. When uploading your resume, choose the Supporting Document Type called "Resume". 

4.    Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs). Required for all applicants. Applicants must submit narrative responses to each of the qualifications listed in the Mandatory Technical Qualifications section of this vacancy announcement.  Narrative responses must not be longer than two pages per MTQ.  You must address each MTQ separately.  You are required to respond to all MTQs. If you fail to do so, you will be rated as 'ineligible.' Select the supporting document "MTQs" to upload your responses.

5.  Proof of Federal Employment/Status.  For positions open to all Federal employees, you must provide a Standard Form-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows your current or former civil service status.  You can obtain this from your Official Personnel Folder maintained by your servicing personnel office, or in your Electronic Official Personnel Folder (EOPF).

6.  Proof of Non-Competitive Eligibility.  Current and former SES members and graduates of OPM-approved SES Candidate Development Programs, who wish to be considered as non-competitive eligible, must provide proof of eligibility.  Current and former SES should provide a copy of the Standard Form-50, Notification of Personnel Action, for the initial appointment to the SES.  This personnel action is the only action that reflects that you previously competed and were certified by an OPM Qualifications Review Board.  Individuals who were removed from the SES or did not complete the SES probationary period are not eligible for non-competitive appointment. CDP graduates should provide a copy of the OPM QRB Criterion B Certification. 

7.  Performance Appraisal.  If you are a current Federal employee, you must provide a copy of your most recent annual performance rating.  If no rating is available, you should provide a statement explaining why you do not have a rating.

8.  Transcripts

9.  Copy of current membership in Bar, as would permit the practice of law.  Membership must be in good standing.


Any documents submitted that are not listed above, including the DD-214 or recommendation letters will not be considered or forwarded to the rating panel or selecting official.


Monique Pollard
Phone: 202-453-6541
Fax: 202-401-2601
Agency Information:
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Attn: Human Resources
Washington, DC
Fax: 202-401-2601


We expect to make a selection within 90 days of the closing date of this announcement.  You will be notified of the outcome by e-mail using the e-mail address on file at the time with USAJobs at the time you applied for this position.  You will be notified of the status of your application up to four times throughout the application process. You may check the status of your application for this position by logging onto the USAJOBS "My Account" tab and clicking on "Application Status." We recommend you opt to receive status change e-mails through USAJOBS by logging into "Notification Settings." Please notify us if your contact information changes after the closing date of the announcement. Also, note that if you provide an inaccurate e-mail address or if your mailbox is full or blocked (e.g., spam-blocker), you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

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