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Nell C. Carney.

Nell C. Carney Commissioner

Rehabilitation Services Administration

Nell Carney was sworn into office on July 31 by Vice President Dan Quayle to become the 12th Commissioner of the federal rehabilitation program. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13, and is now responsible for administering a $1.5 billion program that yearly serves more than a million people who are disabled.

Prior to being nominated by President Bush to be the new Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Mrs. Carney was Acting Commissioner of the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped.

Commissioner Carney believes that rehabilitation like education is a debt owed from present to future generations in America. It is through the provision of rehabilitative services that disabled Americans can become a part of the mainstream of American society.

With a background of 15 years experience in education and rehabilitation, she believes that the most influencing period of her life was the months and years in which she worked as a direct service provider to people with disabilities.

Mrs. Carney's goals for her first year as RSA Commissioner are: strong internal management; responsible implementation of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended; policy reform; and building a nationwide constituency for RSA.

She was valedictorian of her high school graduating class at Watkins Institute, Nashville, Tennessee; she received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1974 and her Master of Arts in 1975 from George Peabody College for Teachers, where she majored in special education, with emphasis in mental retardation, learning disabilities and sensory handicaps.

From 1975 to 1977, she was a special education teacher at Berry Elementary School in Nashville, where she taught first, second and third grade students who were sensory impaired and learning disabled.

In 1977, she taught seventh and eighth grade students who were mentally retarded, learning disabled and sensory impaired at Green Spring Junior High School in Baltimore.

From 1978 to 1984, she was employed by the Washington State Department for the Blind, Seattle, where she provided direct services to people with disabilities for 18 months until being promoted to statewide program coordinator. During her last 2 years in this agency she served as administrator and provided overall management, supervised various levels of staff, developed and presented budget initiatives to the state legislature, and developed and implemented a quality control system.

In 1984-85, she was a special education teacher at John Tyler Elementary School, Washington, D.C., where she taught fifth and sixth grade sensory impaired and mildly mentally retarded students.

From 1985 until her selection as RSA Commissioner Mrs. Carney was employed by the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped. After 6 months of providing direct vocational counseling to clients, she was Assistant Regional Manager of the Northern Virginia Regional Office. After 1 year, she was promoted to Assistant Commissioner; during this 16-month period, she developed and implemented a strategic management plan, developed and presented budget initiatives to the state legislature, and supervised upper level management staff. In April 1989 she was appointed Acting Commissioner.

Commissioner Carney is married and now lives in North Arlington, Virginia. She enjoys cooking on weekends. Her special interests are two tiny house dogs named Shang and Shoy, who occupy a good deal of her time and interest.
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Title Annotation:New leadership for the new decade in rehabilitation
Publication:American Rehabilitation
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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