Meet the OET Team
Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development; Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties in the position of the Director of the Office of Educational Technology
Jim Blew is the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, Jim advocated for education reform across the country. His roles included serving as the director of the 50CAN affiliate Student Success California, the national president of StudentsFirst, and national director for the Alliance for School Choice and its predecessor, the American Education Reform Council. Jim also helped guide the Walton Family Foundation’s K‑12 Reform investments for nearly a decade. Before committing himself full-time to education reform, Jim worked at political and communications firms in New York and California. He holds a BA from Occidental College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Deputy Director, Office of Educational Technology
Jake Steel is the Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology and the Senior Advisor over K-12 Education in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, Jake was appointed by the President as a White House Fellow at the Domestic Policy Council. A former math teacher in Oklahoma City, Jake focused on closing the achievement gap through personalized learning and technology. Jake earned a B.S. in communications from Brigham Young University–Idaho and an M.S. in education from Johns Hopkins University.
Senior Policy Advisor
White House Leadership Fellow
As Senior Policy Advisor, Bernadette has led projects to provide practitioners and policymakers with guidance on: research-based policies and practices implemented by successful Future Ready Leaders; new strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of learning technologies; the role of online communities of practice in enhancing educator performance; exemplary strategies for district leaders to design, acquire, and maintain technology infrastructure; exemplary strategies for developers to leverage technology to solve persistent problems in education; and key considerations for implementing personalized student learning in schools. Prior to joining OET, Bernadette worked to advance the use of technology for workforce development at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and served as a consultant to design an innovative technology-based science curriculum for the Atlanta Public School District.
Broadband, Open Education, & Libraries Lead
Sara leads the broadband and K-12 open education work for the Department, directs digital engagement for the Office of Educational Technology and leads the office’s efforts surrounding libraries and librarians. Sara joined the Department as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2014. While on rotation to the State Department, Sara supported the ECA Collaboratory’s work on open education, open government, and education diplomacy. Prior to joining the Department, she worked as a Learning Services Librarian and served as Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress. A former teacher, Sara holds a B.A. from Clemson University, a graduate certificate from Duke University, and a Master’s in Library Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sara enjoys making salsa, digging in her backyard, and packing a tent when she travels.
Senior Policy Advisor, Higher Education Innovation
Sharon leads the Office of Educational Technology’s higher education innovation initiatives, including next generation assessments, individualized learning pathways, use of open resources and platforms, and strategic partnerships with stakeholders. Sharon also works in offices across the Department to design programs that improve quality of education and increase success of students and adult learners. Prior to joining OET, Sharon oversaw the design and implementation of the Department of Labor’s $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, the largest federal investment in postsecondary innovation and systematic infrastructure change. Sharon can often be found leaping from boulder to boulder with a heavy backpack and dreams of becoming a park ranger when she grows up.