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Graduation Researcher to Lead Fed Evaluation Center

Ruth Curran Neild will stay on as full commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, one of the four centers in the U.S. Department of Education's research agency.

"Conducting rigorous research on topics of greatest concern to educators and policymakers remains a top priority of NCEE," Ms. Neild, who took over on Sept. 1, said in a statement. "At the same time, we seek to lead the field in how we communicate about research, including development of products that are user-friendly, engaging, and attuned to the needs of the target audience."

Ms. Neild will be responsible for overseeing some of IES' highest-profile projects, from the What Works Clearinghouse and the regional educational laboratory system to the online Education Resources Information Center, or ERIC. Moreover, NCEE conducts large-scale evaluations of federal education interventions, such as Early Reading First and the Teacher Incentive Fund.

Ms. Neild's own research has focused on the importance of transitions in preventing high school dropouts, as well as other analyses of longitudinal student data. She holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

When former NCEE Commissioner Rebecca Maynard announced in June that she would return in August to her prior research post at the University of Pennsylvania, there was concern that the center could be left without official leadership for months or years. The Center for Special Education Research was left with an acting commissioner for two years, and the National Center for Education Research is still awaiting a permanent commissioner since Lynn Okagaki left more than a year ago.

"Ruth has been a superb associate commissioner of knowledge utilization at NCEE and will bring her steady guidance and creative leadership to the center," Institute of Education Sciences Director John Q. Easton said in a statement.

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