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.
Born in 1936, Hager 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 now serves as the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and is now the father-in-law to President Bush’s daughter Jenna, who recently married his son Henry.
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.
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.