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Federal Special Education Official to Step Down by Year's End

Melody Musgrove, who has led the U.S. Department of Education's office of special education programs since August 2010, will be stepping down by the end of the year. Ruth Ryder, currently the deputy director of OSEP, will be taking over the director's position. 

Musgrove said that she is returning to Mississippi for family reasons, but that she plans to stay involved in special education. During her tenure, OSEP launched a major revamp of how it evaluates states, aMelody bio pic-200.jpg process it calls "results-driven accountability." States will now also be evaluated on the educational progress of students with disabilities in addition to compliance measures, such as timely due process hearings.

Prior to joining the department, Musgrove was the director of business development for LRP Publications, a business-to-business publisher for a variety of fields, including education. She was also the state director of special education in Mississippi.  

Michael Yudin, the assistant secretary of the office of special education and rehabilitative services, said in a statement: "I want to thank Melody for her outstanding service to the Department and her tireless commitment to improving the lives of America's children and youth with disabilities. Through her leadership, she played a critical role in strengthening accountability for students with disabilities, helping move us from a compliance-focused approach to one driven by results. In the years ahead, we expect this will significantly help students with disabilities reach their education potential."

Photo: Melody Musgrove (Courtesy U.S. Department of Education) 

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