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Ruth Ryder

Ruth Ryder, Acting Director, Office of Special Education Programs, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education 

Ruth Ryder is the acting director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. OSERS provides leadership to achieve full integration and participation in society of people with disabilities by ensuring equal opportunity and access to, and excellence in, education, employment, and community living. OSEP assumes a national leadership role by supporting its customers and partners through technical assistance, personnel preparation, parent training, technology, data collection, reporting and use, and monitoring and support. 

Ms. Ryder has been in a variety of positions in OSEP since 1988, currently as the OSEP acting director. In this position, she provides national leadership for moving special education accountability to a more results-oriented focus. In addition, Ms. Ryder focuses attention on ensuring that the needs of children with disabilities are addressed in the major initiatives of the Department, such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, family engagement, school climate transformation, and early learning.  

Prior to joining OSEP, Ms. Ryder was a program administrator in a Washington state school district. There she had responsibility for an OSERS-funded special education demonstration project, examining integrated service delivery models for including children with disabilities in general education. She also administered the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title 1 and Title 2 programs, state-remediation, gifted education, outcome-based education, and state- and district-wide testing programs. Additionally, Ms. Ryder has been a special education consulting teacher and a general education classroom teacher. Ms. Ryder has bachelor’s degree in psychology and elementary education and a master’s degree in special education.