Senior Leadership Biographies
Mark Washington is a member of the Senior Executive Service, and is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for management and planning, in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, of the U.S. Department of Education.
In this role, he is responsible for the management and operations of the principal organization that directs policies, programs and funding that impacts most of the elementary and secondary education field. This includes a grant portfolio of over $22 billion authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act for programs such as Title I, the largest federal commitment to K-12 education.
He is also the lead federal career executive of the Federal Task Force on Underserved Youth, responsible for transitioning former President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, in collaboration with the current President Trump’s administration.
Prior to this appointment, he was the Department’s performance improvement officer (PIO), advising the deputy secretary and secretary of education on performance management and on matters related to the Department’s strategic plans and enhancing overall performance. He was responsible for leading the Department’s performance improvement processes and performance benchmarking. He also led the Department’s focus on optimizing customer service, innovation, engagement, and other components related to the implementation of the Government Performance Results Act Modernization Act (GPRAMA) of 2010. He advised the deputy secretary on critical audits and external review engagements, such as those conducted by the Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He was a member of the President’s PIO Council, and the OMB Performance Improvement Council.
Washington is a longtime career employee of the Department, serving longest in the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). He began his career there as a policy analyst for the student aid programs, and subsequently transitioned to a variety of other roles, including executive management in the immediate office of the chief operating officer, program management for Business Operations, director of FSA Facilities, Security and Emergency Management operations, senior advisor for employee engagement, and deputy chief administration officer in FSA’s Administrative Services division. Washington is noted for his role in strengthening FSA’s nationwide staff protection and law enforcement program, and as a principal architect of the FSA First Class employee engagement programs, which continue to be a hallmark in effective partnerships among employees, management, and union leaders. He also served for a year as the Department’s acting chief administrative officer and acting performance improvement officer. In those roles, he had overall responsibility for performance management, human capital management, employee engagement, risk management, and small business utilization.
Prior to joining the Department, Washington pursued a fiscal career and held positions at various organizations, including the audit, tax, and advisory services firm KPMG, the human rights organization Amnesty International of the USA, and several other non-profit entities. He was the director of financial aid at Oakwood University (Alabama) immediately before joining the Department.
Ruth Ryder, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education — Biography
Ruth Ryder is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy and Programs – Formula Grants in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) at the U.S. Department of Education. OESE implements programs to support disadvantaged students under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, In this role, Ms. Ryder oversees a broad range of management, policy, and program functions related to formula and discretionary grant programs under the ESEA.
Ms. Ryder joined OESE in April 2019 and has responsibility for formula grants under Title I (Basic Grants, Assessment, Migrant and Neglected and Delinquent), II-A (Effective Educators), III-A (English Learners), IV-A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment), IV-B (21st Century Community Learning Centers) and National Activities for School Safety, Title V (Rural Education Achievement Program), Title VI (Indian Education) and Title VII (Impact Aid). In addition, OFG administers numerous discretionary grants related to Titles I-VI, including the Comprehensive Centers and Equity Assistance Centers.
During her time in OESE, Ms. Ryder has sought to improve coordination across ESEA programs, increase communication with State customers and partners, and streamline internal processes. In addition, Ms. Ryder is leading an effort to improve alignment of technical assistance both within OESE, as well as across the Department. These efforts have resulted in improved ability to meet grantee needs, reduced duplication of effort and increased return on investment. Ms. Ryder was previously the deputy director of the Office of Special Education Programs in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, which she joined in 1988. In that position, she provided national leadership for moving special education accountability to a more results-oriented focus.
Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Ryder was a program administrator in a Washington state school district. There she had responsibility for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title 1 and Title II programs, state-remediation, gifted education, outcome-based education, and state- and district-wide testing programs. She also administered an ED-funded demonstration project, examining integrated service delivery models for including children with learning differences in general education. Additionally, Ms. Ryder has been a special education consulting teacher and a general education classroom teacher. Ms. Ryder has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and elementary education and a master’s degree in special education.