Libby Doggett leads the Office of Early Learning which oversees both the Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool Development Grant Programs. In addition Doggett provides birth to age eight expertise and policy guidance to the Secretary and other offices at the US Department of Education and serves as ED's early learning liaison to the While House, as well as the US Department of Health and Human Services and other federal and state agencies. Doggett brings a lifetime of early learning experience from her work in schools, Head Start and child care with children with and without disabilities. Doggett began her career as a bilingual first grade teacher at Ortega Elementary School in Austin. Doggett holds a doctorate from the University of Texas in early childhood special education.
Richard Gonzales is a Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Early Childhood Division of Interagency & Special Initiatives within the Department of Health & Human Services/Administration for Children and Families (HHS/ACF).
Richard has an MS in Early Childhood Education N-6 from Bank Street College and he began his federal work at ACF in February 2010, continuing his life-long commitment to education - and early childhood development. In the previous 36 years Richard moved through the ranks as a child care assistant teacher and teacher, a Head Start education director, assistant director, and delegate agency director. He also served as the NYC Head Start Grantee Director for 6 ½ years, where he oversaw operations for nearly 20,000 children in 77 delegate agencies, made up of 235 centers, across NYC’s 5 boroughs.
In September 2000 Richard left NYC to come to Washington, D.C. to assist the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in its contract work with the Head Start Bureau, where he played a lead role in the development and implementation of multiple Head Start projects and initiatives.
Richard’s primary focus at ACF these past 6 years has been threefold:
- Providing direction, guidance, and support leading to the funding of 50 State Advisory Councils.
- Leading the HHS-ACF half of the HHS-ACF/Department of Education interagency team in all aspects related to the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool Development Grants.
- Assisting the Deputy Assistant Secretary by collaborating with various federal agencies to support several other ACF Early Childhood Innovation efforts and Initiatives of the President including the President’s Early Learning Initiative, the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and the President’s Fatherhood Initiative.
Ruth Ryder is the Acting Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education. OSEP has responsibility for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act program, providing financial support to States through formula grant programs and national leadership in supporting States through technical assistance, personnel preparation, parent training, technology and State personnel development.
Ms. Ryder has been with OSEP since 1988, most recently as the Acting OSEP Director. In this position, she is providing national leadership in moving special education accountability to a more results-oriented process. In addition, she is focusing attention on ensuring that the needs of children with disabilities are addressed in the major programs in the Department, such as Title I, Title III, School Improvement Grants and Early Learning.
Prior to joining OSEP, Ms. Ryder was a program administrator for a school district in Washington State with responsibility for an OSERS funded special education demonstration project examining integrated service delivery models for including children with disabilities in general education. She also administered the ESEA Title 1 and Title II programs, State-remediation, gifted education, outcome-based education, and State-and district-wide testing programs. Additionally, she was a special education consulting teacher and a general education classroom teacher.