W. Roy Grizzard was nominated by President Bush to be the first Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the Senate on July 26, 2002. Dr. Grizzard is responsible for advising the Secretary of Labor on issues related to the employment of people with disabilities. He works with all agencies within the U.S. Department of Labor to provide leadership in the Department's efforts to increase employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Dr. Grizzard served for six years as Commissioner for the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired. This state agency provides comprehensive services to Virginia's citizens who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind. Before his appointment as Commissioner, Dr. Grizzard was a teacher and administrator in Henrico County Schools. His tenure included service as Assistant Principal at the Harry F. Byrd Middle School and the George Moody Middle School and as Personnel Administrator for Employee Relations and Special Staffing for the Henrico County Public Schools System. Dr. Grizzard serves on the Board of Directors for Prevent Blindness of Virginia. He is a former board member of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, where he was Chairman of the Research Committee. Dr. Grizzard earned his Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University. He also has a Master of Science degree in Education Administration and Supervision and a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Grizzard and his wife Nancy have three sons and three grandchildren.
Commissioner Joanne Wilson The Honorable Joanne Wilson was appointed as the 10th Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) by President Bush in 2001. As RSA Commissioner, Ms. Wilson administers a $2.7 billion dollar program annually that provides services to more than 1 million people with disabilities.
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Wilson created, developed, and oversaw the daily administration of Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB). This was Louisiana's first adult orientation, adjustment, and independent living center for the blind. Ms. Wilson's passion for improving rehabilitation and education services in the state of Louisiana led her to establish eight additional programs to increase the employment potential of Louisiana's blind citizens.
Ms. Wilson graduated with honors from Iowa State University in 1969, where she earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and was named a Merrill Palmer scholar. In 1971, she earned a Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling/Administration from Iowa State University and for a number of years taught in the Ames, Iowa public school system. Ms. Wilson considers her own rehabilitation training at the Iowa Commission for the Blind during 1966 to be the catalyst which changed her life, and ultimately the compelling force led her to establish a model training facility for serving the nation's blind.
A tireless and energetic advocate for persons with disabilities, Ms. Wilson is a much sought after public speaker. She is called upon to address rehabilitation professionals, educators, and public agency personnel who seek to employ the unique strategies and training techniques for which LCB is recognized. She has demonstrated that an effective partnership in which a private entity working in tandem with a public rehabilitation agency can, and does work to best serve the needs of the disabled.
Dr. Robert H. Pasternack
Dr. Robert H. Pasternack became the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services on August 8, 2001. Prior to this, he served as state director of special education for the New Mexico State Department of Education since 1998. He has worked with students with disabilities and their families for more than 25 years and was honored by the BIA in 2000 for his efforts to meet the needs of Native American children with disabilities. He has also assisted the Mexican Government since 1999 in developing their system of special education and related services since he is fluent in Spanish.
Dr. Pasternack was chief executive officer of New Mexico's first licensed Comprehensive Children's Community Mental Health Center from 1993 to 1998, was superintendent of the New Mexico Boys' School from 1990 to 1993, and school psychologist from 1980 to 1993 (the Boys' School is the state institution for adjudicated delinquents). He also started New Mexico's first Residential Treatment Center in 1978. Dr. Pasternack has worked in a variety of leadership roles including director of clinical services for Taos/Colfax Community Service, Inc., in Taos; instructor at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.; president of ENSENAR Heath Services, Inc., in Taos; educational diagnostician for Taos Municipal Schools; school psychologist for Northern Pueblos Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, in Taos; clinical director for Ranchos Treatment Center in Taos; diagnostic consultant for the Los Lunas Hospital & Training School in Los Lunas, N.M.; executive director of Villa Santa Maria in Cedar Crest, N.M.; and administrative intern for the former Bureau of Education of the Handicapped (BEH), Office of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Interestingly, Assistant Secretary Pasternack’s internship experience before completing his doctorate from college was with BEH, since renamed the Office of Special Education Programs and now housed in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the agency he currently directs. Dr. Pasternack has received numerous awards and recognition and has been repeatedly included in Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in America; and Who's Who in Medicine and Health Care. Pasternack has lifelong personal experience with people with disabilities. For nearly 20 years, he has served as the legal guardian for his brother, who was born with Down’s syndrome. Pasternack also has two daughters, Shayla and Rachel, and two grandchildren.