Ruth Curran Neild has been named Commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Upon being named, IES Director John Q. Easton said, "Ruth has been a superb Associate Commissioner of Knowledge Utilization at NCEE and will bring her steady guidance and creative leadership to the Center."
As Commissioner, she will oversee NCEE, one of four centers in the Institute of Education Sciences. NCEE helps educators and policymakers make informed decisions about education programs through the work of its two divisions: Evaluation, which conducts large-scale evaluations of federally funded education programs and practices; and Knowledge Utilization, which supports locally developed research and evaluation projects and technical assistance on data use through the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories, and the synthesis and widespread dissemination of research through the What Works Clearinghouse, the National Library of Education, and the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) online database.
Neild replaces Rebecca Maynard, who left in August.
Rebecca Maynard, the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, recently left IES to return to her faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania. Maynard joined IES as Commissioner in June 2010.
Looking back on her time at IES, Maynard said: "This has been, without a doubt, the most rewarding 2 years of my professional career. I have had the privilege of working with a most amazing group of professionals within NCEE, across IES and the rest of the Department, and in other corners of government. Staff at IES are not only book-smart, they have "street smarts" about how to design, execute, and apply results from rigorous applied research projects. Needless to say, this heading back to the university is going to be bitter sweet."
IES Director John Q. Easton added that: "In 2 short years, Rebecca has made an enormous contribution to IES and more broadly across the Department of Education and other government agencies. She is widely respected for her high standards for evidence use as well as for her open and honest leadership and communication style. Her persuasive and non-threatening demeanor help others understand the utility and importance of the role of strong evidence in decision making."
While at NCEE, Maynard contributed to a number of important evaluation initiatives being conducted in the Center's evaluation division, including studies of Title I programs and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She oversaw the completion of several technical methods projects and worked to improve the usefulness of the What Works Clearinghouse to policymakers and practitioners. In addition, she oversaw a major reshaping of the Regional Educational Laboratory Program, the seeds of which were planted by IES Director John Q. Easton prior to her arrival at IES.
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has released two new Educators' Practice Guides that focus on instructional approaches for helping students master challenging academic work in the elementary grades. Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 and Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers review research against WWC standards and provide educators with recommended research-based practices, specific strategies and examples, and suggestions for overcoming roadblocks to implementing the recommendations.