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Overview:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) works to improve the lives of children and adults afflicted by disabilities. Its main efforts revolve around establishing and maintaining research and development programs through government grants at both the state and regional levels. The three main components of OSERS are special education, vocational rehabilitation, and research.

more
History:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) was established as part of the Department of Education by the 1979 Department of Education Organization Act. OSERS founding law is within US Code: Title 20, Chapter 48, Subchapter II, Section 3417. The Organization Act created the Department of Education by combining offices from several federal agencies under one larger department to oversee their actions.

 

Prior to its inception there had been many legislative acts to authorize special education and rehabilitative programs and activities, including the Randolph-Sheppard Act, which was first passed in 1936 and established the Vending Facility Program giving preference to the blind to operate vending facilities on public property; it was most recently amended in 1974. Previously, Congress had also passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind in 1879 that supported the American Printing House for the Blind, which provided educational materials to individuals enrolled in educational or vocational training programs below the college level. OSERS continues to finance programs at the American Printing House. In 1969 Congress established the Helen Keller National Center, an institution that provides services on a national basis to individuals who are deaf and or blind, their families, and their service providers.

 

Along with OSERS’ founding Organization Act of 1979, Congress also passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1979, which established a program to support vocational rehabilitative services through assistance to the states. With this program, services are formed specifically for each person through an Individualized Plan for Employment.

 

In addition, there have been more recent acts, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was last amended in 1997 and continues to fund grant programs that assist States in providing aid. The 1997 amendment provided grant programs for disabled children ages 3 through 21 to receive free public education in the least restrictive environment possible, as well as early intervention services for families with disabled children from birth to age 2. In 2004 Congress passed the Assistive Technology Act, which enhanced access to technology that could help individuals with disabilities have greater control over their lives and increase participation in their environment. The act has provided these individuals with special communication devices, adapted appliances, adapted computers, and specialized software. Along those same lines, in 2010, came the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (pdf), which ensures improved access for the disabled to communications and video technologies. That same year, Congress passed—along partisan lines—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes a number of provisions designed to aid and support people with disabilities. In 2008 the Higher Education Opportunity Act (pdf) was enacted to assist disabled students in accessing and succeeding in postsecondary education programs.

more
What it Does:

The main mission of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is to work on projects to better help individuals with disabilities and their families. The Office has three main programs that provide financial and leadership assistance in the education and advancement of the disabled. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) focuses on developing programs for disabled children from birth to age 21. OSEP administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which gives grants to states, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations to promote research and development for programs aimed at children.

 

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) conducts multiple research programs and activities to facilitate achievement of the full inclusion, social integration, employment, and independent living of people with disabilities. NIDRR works with the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Office of Special Education Programs, and the Interagency Committee on Disability Research, as well as co-sponsors research programs with foreign governments and international agencies. It has 10 programs, or funding mechanisms, each governing a series of individual projects. NIDRR scientists continue to explore advancements in rehabilitation medicine, psychosocial medicine, and virtual and built environments in an effort to integrate disability research into the nation’s policies.

 

OSERS’ other main research program is the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), which supervises grant programs aimed at helping individuals with physical or mental disabilities find employment and live more independently with the oversight of counseling, medical, and psychological services. The RSA’s major grant program provides funds to state vocational rehabilitation agencies for this sole purpose. There are currently 28 grant programs ranging from American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services, to the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind, to Recreation Programs, and Rehabilitation Training.

 

Additionally, the OSERS supports programs at three institutions: The American Printing House for the Blind, which produces educational materials, The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which promotes employment for the deaf by providing technical and professional education to the deaf youth population, and Gallaudet University, which is a federally chartered, private, nonprofit educational institution that provides elementary through graduate programs with a traditional liberal arts curriculum.

 

The President’s 2013 fiscal year budget requests $12.7 billion to OSERS, through the Department of Education, of which about $11.6 billion is distributed to special education programs through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This act provides grants to States, as well as finances national activities such as state personnel development, technical assistance, and parent information centers. Approximately $3.5 billion is earmarked for rehabilitative services and disability research including vocational rehabilitation state grants. A small amount of money would also be given to the American Printing House for the Blind ($24.5 million), the National Technical Institute for the Deaf ($50 million) and to Gallaudet University ($117.5 million). More information on the Department of Education’s budget can be found at: Department of Education Fiscal Year 2013 Congressional Action (pdf).

 

Programs and Initiatives

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Activities

Contact Information

FAQs

Grants and Funding

Laws and Statutes

Legislation and Policy

News

News Archive

Organization Chart

People and Offices

Programs and Projects

Publications and Products

Research

Resources

Special Education

Strategic Plan and Goals

Vocational Rehabilitation

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) spent more than $14.8 million on more than 60 contractor transactions between FY 2002 and FY 2012, according to USAspending.gov. The top five products or services purchased were educational services ($10,788,969), policy review and development ($1,714,360), educational studies and analyses ($1,336,583), management logistics support ($635,865), and other professional services ($375,496). The top five recipients of this contractor spending were:

 

1. Synergy Enterprises Inc.                                         $10,493,784   

2. New Editions Inc.                                                     $1,714,360   

3. Westat Inc.                                                                $1,336,583   

4. Lux Consulting Group Inc.                                          $635,865   

5. EDJ Associates Inc.                                                     $610,187

more
Former Directors:

Alexa Posny                                     October 2009 - August 2012

Alexa E. Posny, chosen by President Barack Obama to run the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, previously served in a similar capacity for the George W. Bush administration, after holding various education administration posts in Kansas for many years.

 

After graduating from Washington High School in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in 1970, Posny attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she double majored in sociology and psychology. She moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school, earning a master’s in behavioral disabilities and a PhD in education administration.

 

Her career began as a teacher, instructing elementary, middle and high school students. Posny worked as a senior research associate at Research and Training Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, before embarking on a series of school administration positions.  

She was Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Specialty Option as part of the Title 1 Technical Assistance Center (TAC) network of TACs across the United States until 1997. That year, she accepted the post of Director of Special Education for the Shawnee Mission School District. Two years later, she became Kansas’ state director of special education.

 

In 2001, Posny was made deputy commissioner of education in the Kansas Department of Education. In this role she supervised the delivery of services for school districts, other local education agencies, and teacher preparation institutions regarding school improvement and accreditation, curricular standards, state assessments, licensure and teacher education, state and federal education programs, special education and technical education, and research, data analysis and reporting.

 

In 2005, while Posny was still deputy commissioner, the Kansas State Board of Education gained national attention for its controversial efforts to promote the theory of intelligent design over evolution in school curriculums. Posny often clashed with conservatives on the board over this issue and others.

 

Posny relocated to Washington D.C., in 2006 to serve as director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Education Department during the George W. Bush administration. She assisted state and local efforts to educate children with disabilities, and served as liaison between OSEP and constituencies. The following year, in June, Posny returned to Kansas to become the state’s Commissioner of Education, responsible for working with the state education board and the state education department to implement their policies. She also spent time teaching at the University of Kansas as an adjunct faculty member.

 

In 2008, President Bush appointed Posny to be a member of the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board.

 

Biography (Kansas Commissioner of Education) (pdf)

Biography (AllGov)

 

 

Tracy Justesen                                 December 2007 – January 2009

Tracy R. Justesen served as Assistant Secretary at the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services from December 26, 2007, until the end of the administration of George W. Bush in January 2009. He earned his JD from Drake University and his Master of Laws (LLM) from George Washington University. Justesen began his political career working as an Associate Director in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. He later worked as an attorney-advisor in the disability rights section at the Department of Justice. Justesen currently serves as the deputy director for the department’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research program.

 

Justesen has a twin brother, Troy, who also works as the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for vocational and adult education. He began his career in the Department of Education in 2000, working as an education policy analyst in the Office of Special Education Programs in OSERS.

 

                                                         

John Hager                                      2004 - 2007

John H. Hager was born in 1936. He began his career working for the American Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia, serving as its government affairs representative. In 1975 he was a volunteer for Lieutenant Governor John N. Dalton and by 1984 he became a delegate to the Republican National Convention. He continued his political aspirations as the director of Virginia’s homeland security under Governors Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner, and in 1997 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. In 2004 Hager was appointed to the Assistant Secretary position for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Resigning from this position in 2007, Hager became the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, a position he held until May 2008. He is the father-in-law to President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna, who is married to Hager’s son Henry.

 

 

Troy Justesen (Acting Assistant Secretary)              2004

Troy R. Justesen was born in Orangeville, Utah, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1989 at Utah State University, in Logan. He began work at the University’s Affiliated Program, and then held an appointed position in the Utah State government, followed by a 1991 internship in Washington D.C. After that, he returned to his alma mater to receive a Master’s degree in Special Education in 1994. Then he worked as a Civil Rights investigator and enforcer for the U.S. Department of Justice until September 2000, when he began the job of an Education Policy Analyst in the Office of Special Education Programs, a unit of the Department of Education’s Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).

 

In 2001, he completed his Doctorate in Higher Education at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, and next went to work at the White House’s Domestic Policy Council as Associate Director for Domestic Policy, where he helped implement the president’s New Freedom Initiative to improve educational opportunities and employment prospects for Americans with disabilities, and also served as Associate Director for Native American policy issues.

 

In 2003 he returned to the Department of Education as the Deputy Commissioner of the Rehabilitative Services Administration, one of three units within OSERS. At the same time he also served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSERS. For 11 months in 2004, while the division awaited confirmation of a new Assistant Secretary, he was delegated the authority to perform the functions of that position, and in March 2005 he took on the added responsibility of Acting Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Two months later he was also named Acting Director of the Office of Special Education Programs.

 

In June 2005, he officially took the post of Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSERS, where he remained until he came to OVAE. His identical twin brother, Tracy, was the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. Troy Justesen donated $324 to the Republican National Committee in 2004. After leaving the Department of Education, Justesen took a job as development vice president at Salt Lake Community College. He was nominated for the position of Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education by President George W. Bush in May 2006, and confirmed by the Senate in July 2006. He served until Bush left office January 20, 2009.

Biography (AllGov)

 

Robert H. Pasternack                       August 2001 – 2004

Official Biography (U.S. Department of Education)

 

 

Judith Heumann                   1993 – 2001

Biography (U.S. Department of State)

Speech, 1997 Bill Signing Ceremony

 

 

Robert R. Davila                   1989 - 1993

Biography (Gallaudet University)

 

 

Madeleine Will                       Years served included 1984 - 1986

 

 

 

more

Comments

Suraj 1 year ago
One of the first things I larened in my quest to be a better advocate for my children was advice from Pete Wright's website to start a 3 ring binder and save everything. Seriously. This was one of the first things I did, way back when my oldest daughter (now a freshman) was in first grade, was to begin a binder. None of my kids had yet been identified but I knew it was just a matter of time Last year, my documentation was a critical piece to prompt the LEA to settle after we'd filed for a due process hearing. The district's position began to crumble when their attorney insisted that the school staff claimed I'd revoked consent for the school to have any contact with my child's mental health professional. In fact, I'd sent written communication to the school (which I saved) and written communication to the doctor that they could communicate by phone ONLY if I was included in the call and could communicate in writing ONLY if I was cc'd on all communication. I had not revoked consent at all. After that, it was downhill for the district when everything they insisted was true was promptly verified, in THEIR documentation, as being untrue.So, you're right on the money and your advice is critical to all parents of students with disabilities. Save everything, it might be important one day. P.S. Question for you, Jen: I've begun to scan and keep all my documentation in electronic format (hoping to reduce the glut of papers in my house). Is it worth doing this or is the original hard copy all that counts?

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Founded: 1979
Annual Budget: $12.7 billion (FY 2013 Request)
Employees: 255 (FY 2013)
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Yudin, Michael
Acting Assistant Secretary

The chief federal official for matters pertaining to special education is Michael K. Yudin, who succeeded Alexa Posny, who served as assistant secretary of Education for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services from October 2009 to June 2012. In this position, Yudin supervises the Office for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Born circa 1963, Yudin earned a B.A. in English at the State University of New York at Albany and a law degree at the Western New England College School of Law in 1991, where he was a notes editor on the Western New England Law Review.

 

Going into government practice after law school, Yudin served as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor from 1991 to 1994 and at the Social Security Administration from 1994 to 2001, providing legal advice on policy initiatives regarding social security, disability, employment, and welfare reform. Leaving the Executive Branch of the federal government, Yudin served as Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee counsel to Senator Jim Jeffords (Ind.) of Vermont from January 2001 to January 2003.

 

Yudin served as director of Employment & Transportation Policy for the Disability Policy Collaboration, a joint effort of The Arc of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy to affect national public policy for people with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and related disabilities and their families, from February 2003 to 2004. He returned to the Senate, serving as senior counsel to Senator Jeff Bingaman (Dem.) of New Mexico from 2004 to 2009, and legislative director for Senator Jeanne Shaheen (Dem.) of New Hampshire from 2009 to 2010. In these roles, Yudin helped draft and negotiate various pieces of legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act and IDEA 2004, and also worked on the reauthorizations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Head Start, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 2006, and the Higher Education Act.

 

Yudin joined the Department of Education in June 2010 as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and strategic initiatives, where he worked on policy related to student achievement and school accountability, high school reform, early childhood initiatives, and Indian education. From July 2011 to May 2012, Yudin served as acting assistant secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, overseeing the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. In June 2012, he took over as acting assistant secretary of Education for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

 

He is listed on the website of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute, a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational and research organization, as an openly gay political leader. A Democrat, Yudin contributed $250 to Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Biography

Policy Specialists Give Public Policy Collaboration Added Capitol Hill Clout (press release)

more
Posny, Alexa
Previous Assistant Secretary

Alexa E. Posny, chosen by President Barack Obama to run the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, previously served in a similar capacity for the Bush administration, after holding various education administration posts in Kansas for many years. She was confirmed by the Senate October 5, 2009.

 
After graduating from Washington High School in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in 1970, Posny attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she double majored in sociology and psychology. She moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school, earning a master’s in behavioral disabilities and a PhD in education administration.
Her career began as a teacher, instructing elementary, middle and high school students. Posny worked as a senior research associate at Research and Training Associates in Overland Park, KS, before embarking on a series of school administration positions.
 
She was Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Specialty Option as part of the Title 1 Technical Assistance Center (TAC) network of TACs across the United States until 1997. That year, she accepted the post of Director of Special Education for the Shawnee Mission School District.
 
Two years later, she became Kansas’ state director of special education.
 
In 2001, Posny was made deputy commissioner of education in the Kansas Department of Education. In this role she supervised the delivery of services for school districts, other local education agencies, and teacher preparation institutions regarding school improvement and accreditation, curricular standards, state assessments, licensure and teacher education, state and federal education programs, special education and technical education, and research, data analysis and reporting.
 
In 2005, while Posny was still deputy commissioner, the Kansas State Board of Education gained national attention for its controversial efforts to promote the theory of intelligent design over evolution in school curriculums. Posny often clashed with conservatives on the board over this issue and others.
 
Posny relocated to Washington, DC, in 2006 to serve as director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Education Department during the George W. Bush administration. She assisted state and local efforts to educate children with disabilities, and served as liaison between OSEP and constituencies.
 
The following year, in June, Posny returned to Kansas to become the state’s Commissioner of Education, responsible for working with the state education board and the state education department to implement their policies. She also spent time teaching at the University of Kansas as an adjunct faculty member.
 
In 2008, President Bush appointed Posny to be a member of the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board.
 
Alexa Posny Biography (Kansas Commissioner of Education) (PDF)
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) works to improve the lives of children and adults afflicted by disabilities. Its main efforts revolve around establishing and maintaining research and development programs through government grants at both the state and regional levels. The three main components of OSERS are special education, vocational rehabilitation, and research.

more
History:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) was established as part of the Department of Education by the 1979 Department of Education Organization Act. OSERS founding law is within US Code: Title 20, Chapter 48, Subchapter II, Section 3417. The Organization Act created the Department of Education by combining offices from several federal agencies under one larger department to oversee their actions.

 

Prior to its inception there had been many legislative acts to authorize special education and rehabilitative programs and activities, including the Randolph-Sheppard Act, which was first passed in 1936 and established the Vending Facility Program giving preference to the blind to operate vending facilities on public property; it was most recently amended in 1974. Previously, Congress had also passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind in 1879 that supported the American Printing House for the Blind, which provided educational materials to individuals enrolled in educational or vocational training programs below the college level. OSERS continues to finance programs at the American Printing House. In 1969 Congress established the Helen Keller National Center, an institution that provides services on a national basis to individuals who are deaf and or blind, their families, and their service providers.

 

Along with OSERS’ founding Organization Act of 1979, Congress also passed the Rehabilitation Act of 1979, which established a program to support vocational rehabilitative services through assistance to the states. With this program, services are formed specifically for each person through an Individualized Plan for Employment.

 

In addition, there have been more recent acts, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was last amended in 1997 and continues to fund grant programs that assist States in providing aid. The 1997 amendment provided grant programs for disabled children ages 3 through 21 to receive free public education in the least restrictive environment possible, as well as early intervention services for families with disabled children from birth to age 2. In 2004 Congress passed the Assistive Technology Act, which enhanced access to technology that could help individuals with disabilities have greater control over their lives and increase participation in their environment. The act has provided these individuals with special communication devices, adapted appliances, adapted computers, and specialized software. Along those same lines, in 2010, came the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (pdf), which ensures improved access for the disabled to communications and video technologies. That same year, Congress passed—along partisan lines—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes a number of provisions designed to aid and support people with disabilities. In 2008 the Higher Education Opportunity Act (pdf) was enacted to assist disabled students in accessing and succeeding in postsecondary education programs.

more
What it Does:

The main mission of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is to work on projects to better help individuals with disabilities and their families. The Office has three main programs that provide financial and leadership assistance in the education and advancement of the disabled. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) focuses on developing programs for disabled children from birth to age 21. OSEP administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which gives grants to states, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations to promote research and development for programs aimed at children.

 

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) conducts multiple research programs and activities to facilitate achievement of the full inclusion, social integration, employment, and independent living of people with disabilities. NIDRR works with the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Office of Special Education Programs, and the Interagency Committee on Disability Research, as well as co-sponsors research programs with foreign governments and international agencies. It has 10 programs, or funding mechanisms, each governing a series of individual projects. NIDRR scientists continue to explore advancements in rehabilitation medicine, psychosocial medicine, and virtual and built environments in an effort to integrate disability research into the nation’s policies.

 

OSERS’ other main research program is the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), which supervises grant programs aimed at helping individuals with physical or mental disabilities find employment and live more independently with the oversight of counseling, medical, and psychological services. The RSA’s major grant program provides funds to state vocational rehabilitation agencies for this sole purpose. There are currently 28 grant programs ranging from American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services, to the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind, to Recreation Programs, and Rehabilitation Training.

 

Additionally, the OSERS supports programs at three institutions: The American Printing House for the Blind, which produces educational materials, The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which promotes employment for the deaf by providing technical and professional education to the deaf youth population, and Gallaudet University, which is a federally chartered, private, nonprofit educational institution that provides elementary through graduate programs with a traditional liberal arts curriculum.

 

The President’s 2013 fiscal year budget requests $12.7 billion to OSERS, through the Department of Education, of which about $11.6 billion is distributed to special education programs through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This act provides grants to States, as well as finances national activities such as state personnel development, technical assistance, and parent information centers. Approximately $3.5 billion is earmarked for rehabilitative services and disability research including vocational rehabilitation state grants. A small amount of money would also be given to the American Printing House for the Blind ($24.5 million), the National Technical Institute for the Deaf ($50 million) and to Gallaudet University ($117.5 million). More information on the Department of Education’s budget can be found at: Department of Education Fiscal Year 2013 Congressional Action (pdf).

 

Programs and Initiatives

 

From the Web Site of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Activities

Contact Information

FAQs

Grants and Funding

Laws and Statutes

Legislation and Policy

News

News Archive

Organization Chart

People and Offices

Programs and Projects

Publications and Products

Research

Resources

Special Education

Strategic Plan and Goals

Vocational Rehabilitation

more
Where Does the Money Go:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) spent more than $14.8 million on more than 60 contractor transactions between FY 2002 and FY 2012, according to USAspending.gov. The top five products or services purchased were educational services ($10,788,969), policy review and development ($1,714,360), educational studies and analyses ($1,336,583), management logistics support ($635,865), and other professional services ($375,496). The top five recipients of this contractor spending were:

 

1. Synergy Enterprises Inc.                                         $10,493,784   

2. New Editions Inc.                                                     $1,714,360   

3. Westat Inc.                                                                $1,336,583   

4. Lux Consulting Group Inc.                                          $635,865   

5. EDJ Associates Inc.                                                     $610,187

more
Former Directors:

Alexa Posny                                     October 2009 - August 2012

Alexa E. Posny, chosen by President Barack Obama to run the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, previously served in a similar capacity for the George W. Bush administration, after holding various education administration posts in Kansas for many years.

 

After graduating from Washington High School in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in 1970, Posny attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she double majored in sociology and psychology. She moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school, earning a master’s in behavioral disabilities and a PhD in education administration.

 

Her career began as a teacher, instructing elementary, middle and high school students. Posny worked as a senior research associate at Research and Training Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, before embarking on a series of school administration positions.  

She was Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Specialty Option as part of the Title 1 Technical Assistance Center (TAC) network of TACs across the United States until 1997. That year, she accepted the post of Director of Special Education for the Shawnee Mission School District. Two years later, she became Kansas’ state director of special education.

 

In 2001, Posny was made deputy commissioner of education in the Kansas Department of Education. In this role she supervised the delivery of services for school districts, other local education agencies, and teacher preparation institutions regarding school improvement and accreditation, curricular standards, state assessments, licensure and teacher education, state and federal education programs, special education and technical education, and research, data analysis and reporting.

 

In 2005, while Posny was still deputy commissioner, the Kansas State Board of Education gained national attention for its controversial efforts to promote the theory of intelligent design over evolution in school curriculums. Posny often clashed with conservatives on the board over this issue and others.

 

Posny relocated to Washington D.C., in 2006 to serve as director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Education Department during the George W. Bush administration. She assisted state and local efforts to educate children with disabilities, and served as liaison between OSEP and constituencies. The following year, in June, Posny returned to Kansas to become the state’s Commissioner of Education, responsible for working with the state education board and the state education department to implement their policies. She also spent time teaching at the University of Kansas as an adjunct faculty member.

 

In 2008, President Bush appointed Posny to be a member of the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board.

 

Biography (Kansas Commissioner of Education) (pdf)

Biography (AllGov)