Senior CounselOffice for Civil Rights; U.S. Department of Education
Saba Bireda is Senior Counsel in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining US Department of Education, Ms. Bireda was policy and legal advisor for EducationCounsel LLC providing strategic advice and legal analysis to clients at state education agencies, state-level entities, and nationally- and federally-focused organizations. Ms. Bireda also served as deputy director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council where she provided management and strategic planning with a focus on education policy, analyzed and provided commentary on proposed legislation and regulations, and provided technical assistance to education advocates working on issues of educational equity.
Ms. Bireda also worked for the Center for American Progress as an Education Policy Analyst where she researched and wrote issues briefs and reports on education policy topics including school improvement strategies, fiscal equity, and federal education law.
Following law school, Ms. Bireda participated in a public service fellowship, in Philadelphia, where she worked as a staff attorney for the Education Law Center and as a litigation associate for an international law firm. Ms. Bireda began her career in education as a teacher at Sousa Middle School in Washington, DC.
Ms. Bireda earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard School of Law in 2007. During law school, she served as an executive articles editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, teaching assistant to Professor Lani Guinier, and as a student attorney for the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative. Ms. Bireda earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Stanford University in 2001.
Betsy Brand (Treasurer)
Executive DirectorAmerican Youth Policy Fourm
Betsy Brand has served as the Executive Director of AYPF since 2004, and she served as Co-Director of the organization since 1998. Betsy has spent her career working on education, workforce, and youth policy and specializes in comprehensive approaches to helping young people be prepared for today’s careers, lifelong learning, and civic engagement.
Betsy’s education policy career started when she served as a Legislative Associate for the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor from 1977 to 1983. She subsequently served with Senator Dan Quayle as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from 1983 to 1989, where she handled all federal education and training legislation. In 1989, Betsy was appointed Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, under President George H.W. Bush, where she worked for four years. From 1993 to 1998, Betsy operated her own consulting firm, Workforce Futures, Inc., which focused on policy and best practices affecting education and workforce preparation.
Betsy has a B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and serves on various boards, including the Center for Occupational Research and Development, Latin American Youth Center, and Diploma Plus.
Vice President for Education PolicyCenter for American Progress
Cynthia Brown is Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP) and served as Director, Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future National Task Force on Public Education, a joint initiative of the Center and the Institute for America’s Future. Prior to joining CAP, Brown was an independent education consultant who advised and wrote for local and state school systems, education associations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and a corporation.
From 1986 through September 2001, Brown served as Director of the Resource Center on Educational Equity of the Council of Chief State School Officers. She was appointed by President Carter as the first Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education (1980). Prior to that position, she served as Principal Deputy of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s Office for Civil Rights. Brown received her M.A in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and B.A. from Oberlin College. She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Youth Policy Forum and Perry Street Preparatory Public Charter School.
Lydia M. Logan (Secretary)
Managing Director of Chiefs for ChangeFoundation for Excellence in Education
Lydia is the Managing Director of Chiefs for Change at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Before joining Chiefs for Change, Lydia served as the Senior Director of Policy at the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation where she focused on national policy, Governor Snyder’s education initiatives in Michigan, and investments improving management, human capital, quality, and transparency across District and charter public schools in Washington, DC. Prior to The Broad Foundation, she held the position of Vice President and Executive Director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where she worked with the business community on national and state policies and programs to improve early childhood, pre-k through post-secondary public education and workforce training. Lydia is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
James McKenney (Chair)
Special Assistant to the President and CEOAmerican Association Community Colleges
James F. McKenney is currently the Special Assistant to the President and CEO at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). His prior position was Vice President, Office of Economic Development. In that position, he served as the primary point of interface between AACC and other public/private organizations, agencies, and trade associations that focus on economic and workforce development.
Dr. McKenney began his involvement with AACC in the Office of College Employer Relations and soon after served as the Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations with responsibilities covering the reauthorization of the Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act and the Job Training Partnership Act. During this timeframe, both the Advanced Technological Education program of the National Science Foundation and the Tech-Prep Education Act were authorized and funded. Dr. McKenney received his Ph.D from the University of Maryland.
Vice President, EducationNational Council of La Raza
Delia Pompa is Senior Vice President of Programs at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) where she provides oversight of NCLR programs, including Housing and Community Development, Education, Institute for Hispanic Health, and Workforce Development. Her expertise is in the areas of school reform, early childhood education, English language learners, and charter schools.
Prior to her position with NCLR, Pompa served as Co-Principal, DMP Associates; Executive Director, National Association for Bilingual Education; Director, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, U.S. Department of Education; Principal, Pompa and Associates; Director of Education, Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Youth Development, Children’s Defense Fund; Assistant Commissioner for Program Development, Texas Education Agency; and Executive Director, Bilingual Programs and Early Childhood Education, Houston Independent School District. Pompa received her M.A in early childhood education at the University of Texas at San Antonio and her B.A in sociology and early childhood education at Trinity University.
Anthony R. Sarmiento (Vice Chair)
Executive DirectorSenior Service America
Tony Sarmiento has served as Executive Director of Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI) since 2000. He has brought a wide range of experience and expertise to advocate for national policy and programs that support low-income older adults.
Prior to SSAI, Sarmiento worked for more than 20 years with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he held several senior positions including Assistant Director of its Education Department and Director of Worker-Centered Learning for the Working for America Institute. Before the AFL-CIO, Tony was director of a neighborhood youth organization and then held positions in several District of Columbia government agencies, including the Mayor’s Office of Youth Opportunity Services and the Department of Employment Services. Sarmiento holds a B.A. in American Studies from American University and has studied at Cornell University.
With your financial support and commitment, AYPF will continue to educate and inform policymakers about strategies that work to help young people, particularly vulnerable youth, succeed in the modern workplace, become lifelong learners, and be engaged citizens.