Key NWEA Leader Takes on New Role with U.S. Department of Education

Dr. Aaliyah Samuel named Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Engagement

Portland, Ore. – Feb. 25, 2021 – In an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education today, Dr. Aaliyah Samuel, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Partnerships at NWEA – a not-for-profit research and assessment solutions provider, has been appointed by the Biden/Harris Administration as the U.S. Department of Education’s new Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Engagement. She has formally stepped down from her position at NWEA to begin this new role, which will focus on developing an overall strategy and direction for public engagement at the national, state, and local levels.

“NWEA created a space where I could be my true self and lead through a lens of sincerely wanting to be “the best partner,” said Samuel in a farewell message to NWEA staff. “A huge thank you to my team, who I am sure are exhausted of hearing me say, teamwork makes the dream work.”

In her two-year tenure at NWEA, Samuel led efforts in policy and advocacy, including helping the organization set its first policy agenda. She engaged with over 600 state and national influencers and policy makers, published more than 20 blogs and articles with key influencers, such as NASBE, CCSSO and ECS, and presented at more than 20 in-person and virtual events. But one of her highlight initiatives was the completion of a featured podcast called “Testing America’s Freedom” in which she discussed with educational leaders the history of laws, policies, and practices that have resulted in systemic inequity within America’s education system and urgent solutions to help all students succeed.

View the official press release from the U.S Department of Education:

About NWEA

NWEA® (formerly known as Northwest Evaluation Association) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction. Educators in more than 10,000 schools, districts, and education agencies in 146 countries rely on our flagship interim assessment, MAP® Growth™; our reading fluency and comprehension assessment, MAP® Reading Fluency™ ; our personalized learning tool powered by Khan Academy, MAP® Accelerator™; and our state solutions that combine growth and proficiency measurement. Visit to find out how NWEA can partner with you to help all kids learn.

Contact: Simona Beattie, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, or 971.361.9526