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Letter from the Commissioner: NCER by the Numbers (FY 2021) November 2021

When I shared the first edition of "NCER by the Numbers" with you all, we were 9 months into the coronavirus pandemic. Little did I realize that the challenges of those first months of the pandemic would be continuing nearly a year later. I know that everyone's routines remain disrupted and that we are all navigating this new normal deep into the second year of the pandemic. NCER and our grantee community have been working to identify ways to provide resources and support to the education settings within which their research is happening and to carry out their research projects as it becomes possible to do so. I know that our program officers have been in regular contact with their grantees, and we want to thank you all for everything that you are doing to support improved outcomes for all learners in our nation.

Since the last NCER by the Number (FY 2020) was posted in December 2020, NCER has funded a lot of new work, responded to the ever-changing needs of our grantees, and welcomed two new staff members.

Let me start first with introducing our two new staff members — Dr. Laura Namy and Dr. Michael Leonard.

headshot of Dr. Laura Namy

Dr. Namy is NCER's new Associate Commissioner of Teaching and Learning. She was most recently the Executive Director of the Society for Research in Child Development. Prior to that she served as a program director of Developmental and Learning Sciences at NSF and was a faculty member at Emory University for nearly 20 years.

headshot of Dr. Michael Leonard

Dr. Leonard is joining Dr. Ed Metz to support our Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. He recently completed his PhD in Educational Policy from Ohio State University.

As I think about all we have accomplished this year, I wanted to acknowledge all the work that NCER and our team has been doing related to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). This work has been going on for years, but our efforts have intensified over the past year, beginning with a technical working group that we hosted in December 2020, where we sought input from the community as to how we could diversify our applicant pool and our grantees. For more information about our DEIA work, please see this blog post, where we highlighted some of the activities that the research centers have completed this year, and the steps we intend to take in FY 2022 and beyond.

Some quick highlights of what we've been doing this year:

To close, I want to say thank you to every member of the NCER team. I am immensely proud of the dedication that this team brings to our collective work and their commitment to supporting high quality education research. While I anticipate that we will continue to face challenges in fiscal year 2022, I know that NCER will work together to meet these challenges.