Friday, January 8, 2016
Exclusive Interview of Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary of Education - Part I #Yudin, #interview
This is the first post involving our exclusive interview with Michael Yudin, the Assistant Secretary of Education for special education and rehabilitative services. His biography is available in a previous post. We are grateful to the Assistant Secretary and his staff for this interview. This is a big deal!
The format of the interview will be questions by me signified by (JG), and answers by the Assistant Secretary, signified by (MY). Here is the first segment; please enjoy:
JG: What qualities should the Assistant Secretary of OSERS possess?
MY: First the ability to actually listen to folks that know more than he or she does. I am actually very fortunate to have a staff that has dedicated their careers to improving outcomes for toddlers, preschoolers, kids and adults with disabilities. The ability to listen to your staff is critical. Part B to that is that one of the best things about my job is that I get to meet with and listen to parents, educators, and kids and adults and stakeholders across the spectrum, and I try to get out as often as I can when I don’t have to be working in the office and listen to folks. So the ability to listen, to really meaningfully listen to folks who know better than I do is one. Another set of skills is the ability to understand how to administer the law and implement the law in a way that is designed to improve outcomes. It is critical to consistently focus on who we are trying to serve through our programs and never lose sight that this is about kids and about the individual stakeholders who are served through our programs. So being mindful of who our consumers are is absolutely critical as well. My experience coming into this job has been a mix of general education as well as special education and I have got twenty some odd years in civil service in a variety of venues so understanding how laws are written obviously and how laws are implemented and the various levers that are available and that I can take advantage of based on the experiences that I’ve had.
JG: What is the mission and role of OSERS?
MY: The mission of the office is to ensure access to and excellence in education and employment for individuals with disabilities. Always being mindful of that mission is actually critical to our success. We’ve employed a set of values to guide our work across all of our programs. Those values are inclusion, equity and opportunity. I probably talk about them every single day; I certainly think about them every single day. How are we promoting inclusion? How are we ensuring equity? And how are creating better opportunities for individuals cradle through career? We have a variety of programs to support individuals with disabilities cradle through career. Keeping mindful of our mission is critical as we administer those programs.