Karl Haigler

KarlMy career has led to interesting places – a journey that began with an invaluable liberal education in politics at Wake Forest. I’ve have had the opportunity to serve as an educator, public servant, citizen-soldier, corporate consultant, and entrepreneur. I’ve advised Governors, a memorable First Lady, CEOs, and Cabinet Secretaries. I’m a published author in literacy, workforce development, human capital management and “gap years.” Not exactly a linear career path, but one that’s been challenging, engaging, and that I plan to continue while re-wiring (not retiring).

I graduated from Wake in 1970 and then obtained a Master’s degree in Political Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. From 1972-85 I was a high-school teacher and then a high-school principal. My participation in a Fifth District (N.C.) congressional campaign and consulting at the National Endowment for the Humanities led to a stint as a political appointee in the Reagan administration. At the U.S. Department of Education, I headed the President’s adult literacy initiative, served as director of adult education, and was a member of the Secretary’s senior staff.  In these roles I helped develop the nation’s first national adult literacy assessment and served as the Secretary’s principal liaison to Mrs. Barbara Bush, governors, and other federal departments. Upon leaving Washington I became special advisor to Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus (now Secretary of the Navy) in adult literacy and workforce development.

My commission in ROTC opened the door to a variety of intelligence assignments as an Army Reservist from 1978 to 1988.  Since 1991 I have worked as a human resources consultant. In 2003 I helped found and now direct a national non-profit group, Bioethics-in-Action, that focuses on ethical issues related to biotechnology. There is little doubt that the study of politics at Wake Forest provided me with relevant knowledge and skills, enabling and motivating me to make the most of the opportunities that I have been afforded. But more than that, I know that my love of learning—first kindled in classrooms and professors’ offices—is the best legacy that I can pass on to my family, my community, and my country. [posted June 2010]