Exodus by Special Education Officials

Tameria Lewis, Assistant State Superintendent of Special Education, has announced that she will resign from her position June 17.

Post by SEN Team | may 16th, 2011
The announcement raises speculation because it came so close after the DCPS Deputy Chancellor, Richard Nyankori, confirmed his resignation from the department. Richard Nyankori served as Deputy Chancellor, and he is credited with improving the timeliness in which kids with special education needs receive services.

Lewis's resignation clusters with the departure of at least five top ranking officials from the education department within a year.

In 2007 Lewis was hired to head the newly formed OSSE, formerly known as the State Education Office. The directive of the department includes setting polices, monitoring education quality and availability, and directing resources to ensure that DC residents benefit and demonstrate a competitive edge in educational achievement.

Ms. Lewis was recruited by education stalwart, Deborah Gist. Since July 2009, Ms. Gist has served as the Rhode Island Commissioner of elementary and secondary education. During the period Ms. Lewis was hired Adrian Fenty was mayor. At the time, the mayor was a leader in urban education reform. Ms. Lewis declined to comment, but one can't help but observe that with the frequent departures, the educators aren't remaining in their DC education jobs long enough to see the directives of the organization accomplished.

Furthermore, one can't help but wonder if the exodus from the organization is related to the lack of progress in enforcing the 2006 court order which was implemented to eliminate the backlog of cases involving families and school children waiting for special education services.

It appears that despite good intentions, and the effort of qualified educators, and even with the passage of the 2006 court mandate, the educators are unable to go forward in the direction that they would like.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education is a department commissioned with a worthy challenge. It would be beneficial if the department's directive and policies could be revised so that the appointed leaders would have the support they need to get the job done. These changes would encourage the educators to remain and accomplish what they were appointed to do.

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