Education gets new IT chief

William Vajda, a former NSA information technology official, will oversee the department’s IT efforts to gather data for student assessments under the No Child Left Behind Act.

William Vajda became the Education Department’s new chief information officer earlier this month.

Vajda oversees the department’s information technology efforts and is an IT adviser to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Deputy Secretary Ray Simon and the department’s undersecretaries.

Experts consider Vajda’s appointment as an attempt to boost Education's efforts to compile more complete national and state student and teacher assessment data as the No Child Left Behind Act starts its reauthorization process on Capitol Hill next year.

The act is the Bush administration's 2002 landmark education act, which stresses annual student testing, penalties for schools that repeatedly fail to meet state standards and a national cadre of K-12 teachers who are rated as highly qualified. The department needs to compile and assess all that data.

Education’s Office of the CIO also helps senior managers comply with the best practices in the industry and applicable federal laws and regulations, including the Clinger-Cohen Act, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and the Federal Information Security Management Act.

“Getting accurate and comprehensive data in a timely manner is key to performing at our best,” Spellings said in a statement. “Bill’s years of service in the government and private sector have given him the knowledge and expertise to harness technology on behalf of student achievement.”

In 2001, Vajda was named deputy director for IT and infrastructure services at the National Security Agency by Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who was then NSA director and is now CIA director.

Vajda previously worked at the Internal Revenue Service. He is a graduate of the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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