Reporter’s notebook

U.S. Education Department (Photo: Matthew Dembicki)

  • Senate confirms Loyd to lead OCTAE
  • ED’s first chief economist

Senate confirms Loyd to lead OCTAE

Amy Loyd

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Amy Loyd, a former community college student, as the U.S. Education Department’s (ED) assistant secretary for career, technical and adult education.

Loyd has served as a senior advisor at ED as she awaited her confirmation. She was nominated to lead ED’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) in August 2021. Previously, she was acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary of policy and strategic initiatives in OCTAE from April 2021 to August.

Prior to that, Loyd — who attended Santa Fe Community College and Northern New Mexico College — was a vice president at Jobs for the Future for 10 years, where she led the organization’s programs in college and career pathways, workforce development with a focus on economic advancement, state and federal policy and in diversity, equity and inclusion.

She previously was director of education at the Cook Inlet Tribal Council in Alaska, leading a network of schools and programs providing comprehensive, culturally responsive education, training and wraparound services to the Alaska Native and Native American communities. Loyd also led the startup of a prisoner re-entry residential education and workforce development social enterprise and was a high school math teacher and family advocate.

ED’s first chief economist

Jordan Matsudaira

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Wednesday appointed Jordan Matsudaira to serve as the department’s first-ever chief economist. Jordan will also continue to serve as deputy under secretary.

“To achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals for education, we need to start with the evidence on what works for students and be guided by data as we seek to understand and fix our problems,” Education Under Secretary James Kvaal wrote in announcing the appointment on ED’s blog.

Jordan’s office will work with other ED offices to:

  • Provide analysis and advice to guide real-time policymaking.
  • Conduct research to further key elements of ED’s learning agenda.
  • Build a culture of experimentation, including partnerships with leading social science researchers to pilot-test new ways to serve students and borrowers.
  • Serve as a liaison to the research community so its insights and evidence can inform ED’s work.

Kvaal highlighted Jordan’s qualifications for the position, noting that he previously was an economist at Teachers College at Columbia University, focusing on the effect of labor and education policies and institutions on the economic mobility of low-income Americans. He also was chief economist on President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, contributing to the development of policies to promote higher education access and accountability. It included work on gainful employment regulations of for-profit colleges, and an expansion of the federal overtime protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, Jordan led the interagency team that developed data for ED’s College Scorecard.

The office has already developed its team, which includes:

  • Lesley Turner, associate professor of economics at Vanderbilt University, who is an expert on higher education finance and the economics of student financial aid policy.
  • Tomás Monarrez, a labor economist and senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Center on Education Data and Policy, who has studied racial segregation in schools and the effects of state higher education expenditures on student outcomes.
  • Dennis Kramer, director of the policy research and analysis group at ED’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.