Special Education

Kansas Schools Chief Posny Picked to Lead Federal Special Ed Department

By Christina A. Samuels — July 07, 2009 1 min read

Alexa E. Posny, the Kansas commissioner of education, has been nominated to serve as the assistant secretary for the office of special education and rehabilitative services, known as OSERS.

If confirmed by the Senate, Posny would be making a return trip to the department: In April 2006, she was appointed to serve as the director of the office of special education programs, which is part of OSERS. She left the department in May 2007 to return to Kansas to lead that state’s education department. She has also served as Kansas state director of special education, the director of special education for the Shawnee Mission district, and as a Title I technical advisor for other districts around the country.

I wrote a profile of Posny in 2007, and the people I interviewed then praised her for her ability to break down complicated subjects, as well as for her experience with special education, Title I, and state education department governance.

She’s very down to earth and very concrete in the things she puts together for families,” said Connie Zienkewicz, the executive director of Families Together Inc., a federally funded center for parent training and information, based in Wichita. Former Kansas Commissioner of Education Andy Tompkins, now a professor at the University of Kansas school of education, said in an e-mail message that Ms. Posny “knows the [special education] law and its regulations as well as anyone.”

Nancy Reder, the director of governmental affairs for the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, offered similar praise when I spoke to her today. “We’re delighted, we think she’s a great choice,” Reder told me. Posny’s Title I and special education experience are great foundations for the new role, Reder added.

File photo above: Alexa Posny, director of the office of special education programs at the Department of Education, Center, during a staff meeting in December of 2006.
Christopher Powers/Education Week

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.