Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Who Is Michael Yudin?
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.
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