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NCD Welcomes Appointment of Taryn Mackenzie Williams as White House Public Engagement Advisor

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014

WASHINGTON – The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, welcomes the appointment of Taryn Mackenzie Williams as an incoming Advisor at the Office of Public Engagement for the White House.  She began working in the position July 14, 2014.

Williams comes to the Executive Branch on detail from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the U.S. Department of Labor where she is a Senior Policy Advisor.  At ODEP, Williams provided expertise in a number of disability policy areas including workforce development, education, Medicaid and social security. As a member of the Youth Team, she led an initiative to build federal and state capacity to provide and measure the outcomes of transition services and a demonstration project targeting youth with disabilities in community colleges. She also worked to enhance transition outcomes of youth with significant disabilities.

Prior to joining ODEP, Taryn was Research Coordinator for Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL).  At IEL, she managed a leadership development program for teachers, administrators, and policymakers, including a focus on special education. In addition, she conducted policy analysis and research in several areas including federal education legislation and preparation of the education workforce. Before joining IEL, Taryn was Director of Programs at the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) headquartered in Chicago.  At NAUDL, she developed and delivered policy debate curricula for secondary school teachers in urban school districts.

Taryn earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with a concentration in education from Brown University.  She holds a master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University.  She participated in the Education Policy Fellowship Program at IEL in 2006-2007. In 2012-2013, she completed a detail to the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), which is chaired by Senator Tom Harkin.  At HELP, she researched and contributed to the staff report on the ADA Generation.  Taryn, who has lived with ulcerative colitis since the age of 5, is a proud supporter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. She and her husband, Reginald, live in Washington, D.C.

“NCD welcomes Taryn’s appointment to the Office of Public Engagement for the White House,” said Rebecca Cokley. “From the time we worked together at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) and beyond, Taryn has brought a tireless commitment to the disability community and the issues that affect our lives – whether it is employment, Medicaid or Social Security or the issues specific to the next generation of disability community members. Her presence in the Executive Branch is a testament to the Administration’s recognition that disability ‘puts the d in diversity’ and to keeping real world concerns of both communities of color and the disability community front and center in the public policy arena. The President is fortunate to have her in this role. NCD looks forward to working closely with her.”

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