Senior Advisor

James “Jim”  Manning is a veteran of government and public service. He brings to Penn Hill Group almost 35 years of experience in education policy and implementation. He has served six Presidential Administrations in senior management positions and has worked as a leader in the non-profit community. Manning most recently served at the U.S. Department of Education, holding positions as Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Acting Under Secretary, and Acting Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid (FSA).

Manning’s government career began at the U.S. Department of State where he was in the career Foreign Service. He went on to serve as a Special Assistant to the President and Director of Projects for the First Lady during the Reagan Administration. In 1989, Manning moved to the Department of Education for the first time, serving in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education as Chief of Staff and Deputy Assistant Secretary.

Manning temporarily left government in 1993 and joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) as Director of International Events. He planned and directed events worldwide to promote the NBA and the league’s commitment to social responsibility and to helping people achieve an improved quality of life. In the late 1990’s, Manning served as head of two non-profit organizations. He served as National Director of the Congressional Award Foundation and as the Chief Operating Officer of the Catholic Alliance.

In 2001, he returned to the Department of Education, as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary. He oversaw the day-to-day operation of the Department and, for a period, led the Department’s largest component, FSA, as Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO). While serving at the Department Manning was asked by the White House to assume leadership of the Corporation for National and Community Service during a crisis period. Upon re-establishing smooth operation of the Corporation, Manning returned to the Department of Education and assumed the duties of Chief of Staff at FSA. He subsequently served as FSA’s Deputy COO and Acting COO; later serving as Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in 2005; and as Acting Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education in 2006.

After retiring from Federal service in 2015, Manning worked as a self-employed consultant until he was recruited to lead President-elect Trump’s Education Landing Team. As the lead for the transition efforts at the Department of Education, Manning directed a comprehensive review of the Department’s programs, activities and initiatives to make recommendations on retention or changes to the new administration and incoming Secretary of Education. His work ensured a steady transition to new leadership at the Department.

Manning rejoined the Department of Education in January 2017 as Senior Advisor to the Secretary. In April 2017, he was appointed to Acting Under Secretary, where he was responsible for overseeing the operations and performance of the Department’s higher education programs. In January 2018, he took on the additional responsibility of FSA’s COO, overseeing the daily operations of the Department’s student financial aid programs and its $1.5 trillion portfolio. In March 2019, he retired from Federal service.

Manning has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

You can reach Jim at