For 42 years, Linda Byrd-Johnson, Ph.D., has been employed by the U.S. Department of Education (Department) in several different capacities. Dr. Byrd-Johnson currently serves as the Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs, Office of Postsecondary Education (HEP/OPE). Most recently, she served as the Senior Director, Student Service Area and Acting Senior Director, Institutional Service, OPE/HEP. In the position of Senior Director, Student Service, she was responsible for directing, planning and managing the Federal TRIO Programs, the Child Care Access Means Parents in School, GEAR UP, and the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need programs. She served a similar role as the Acting Senior Director, Institutional Service. The Institutional Service Area has responsibility for the administration of the Aid for Institutional Development programs, which include Title III and Title IV programs that support improvements in educational quality and financial and management stability at qualifying institutions of higher education.
She served on two occasions as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS), Higher Education Programs, Office of Postsecondary Education. As the Acting DAS, Dr. Byrd-Johnson provided overall leadership for administering and coordinating discretionary and formula grants and contracts to over 100 employees in the offices of Student Service, Institutional Service, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
During her tenure with the Department, she has served as a senior program specialist with the International Education and Graduate Programs responsible for the administration of the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad and Institute for International Public Policy and in the Accrediting Agency Evaluation Branch. She began her career with the Department as a member of the Office of the Liaison for Minorities and Women and as a staff member of the presidentially appointed National Advisory Committee on Black Higher Education and Black Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Byrd-Johnson received her undergraduate degree in History and Africana Studies from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY and her Masters and Doctorate degrees in African Studies and Research from Howard University, Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the Executive Potential Program and was honored by Howard University as a distinguished Ph.D. alumnus in 1998. In January 2013, she received an achievement award from the Southern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP – one of the regional TRIO associations) for her commitment to the TRIO community. Dr. Byrd-Johnson was awarded a Lifetime Service Award by the Council for Opportunity in Education during its Annual Conference in October 2014.