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Name: Posny, Alexa
Current Position: Former 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)
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