USED & White House
Letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary Ryder re: National ESEA Conference


October 26, 2021


Dear Chief State School Officer:


By now, your State educational agency should have received information from the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) regarding the upcoming National ESEA Conference.  As in previous years, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will have a strong presence, providing timely updates from several of our offices about federal education programs and funding issues—and particularly the implementation of funding through the American Recovery Plan (ARP). 


In response to the rapidly changing circumstances associated with COVID-19, NAESPA made the decision to transition the 2022 Conference to a hybrid event—essentially parallel conferences running simultaneously with identical high-quality content.  This Conference will convene both onsite and “virtually” February 16-19, 2022.  The priority is always to provide a safe, positive, interactive, and diverse experience—and now it will all be accessible both at New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, as well as in the comfort of home or office


Formerly called the National Title I Conference, the National ESEA Conference welcomes thousands of K-12 educators from across the country each year.  This year’s theme, “Recommit, Renew, Reimagine,” underscores the focus for all attendees on the unique needs of disadvantaged children and the ability to maximize service across all ESEA Programs.  In addition, educator wellness will receive some long-overdue attention during the Conference.  Participants include state agency officials, school district administrators, school building leaders, and teachers—all gaining new knowledge, instructional strategies, and skills needed to transform student learning. 


Conference participants will have opportunities to meet and learn from professionals who have taken significant steps to help students succeed.  Conference sessions are a combination of large group presentations with nationally recognized speakers, and smaller interactive workshops where attendees have the chance to work closely with education experts. 


We recognize that States may have constraints on conference registrations, out-of-state travel, and association memberships for federally funded program staff, but please consider allowing your ESEA state-level staff to participate in this invaluable professional learning opportunity.  By providing two viable attendance options, the hybrid conference format stands to welcome even greater involvement from the education community. 


Conference details, including registration materials, are available at  If you have questions about the conference, please contact Bob Harmon, CEO, National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) at or 800-256-6452.




Ruth E. Ryder
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs
Office of Elementary & Secondary Education | United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW | Washington, D.C. 20202

About the Author

Ruth Ryder is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Office of State Grant and Program Support in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) at the U.S. Department of Education.  In this role, Ms. Ryder oversees a broad range of management, policy, and program functions related to formula and discretionary grant programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA).  Ms. Ryder was previously the deputy director of the Office of Special Education Programs in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, which she joined in 1988. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Ryder was a program administrator in a Washington state school district. There she had responsibility for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title 1 and Title II programs, state-remediation, gifted education, outcome-based education, and state- and district-wide testing programs.  Ms. Ryder has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and elementary education and a master’s degree in special education.