Venitia Richardson leads the Teacher Quality Programs (TQP) division in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Innovation and Improvement. As Director of the TQP division office, Richardson oversees several discretionary grant programs that include Race to the Top-District, the Teacher Incentive Fund, School Leadership, Supporting Effective Educator Development, Teaching American History, Teacher Quality Partnership and Transition to Teaching. Prior to coming to the Department of Education, Richardson dedicated the last 20 years of her career to serving our nation’s youth with great passion, commitment and pride. Sixteen of those years were spent in Hartford, Connecticut, working with children and families. Richardson functioned in several roles with the Hartford Public Schools, beginning as a graduate Intern, a Special Education Teacher, Behavioral Specialist, District Inclusion Facilitator, Assistant Director in the division office for Student Support Services in Central Office, Assistant Principal for a middle school and Founding Principal of Opportunity High School, a high school designed as part of the district’s reform process. Richardson began on her path of youth service working for the YMCAs of Greater Delaware in Dover and The Greater Hartford YMCA in East Hartford, Connecticut. Richardson holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Connecticut in Educational Psychology, a master’s degree in Education from the University of Connecticut and a Sixth Year degree in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. Richardson is also a veteran of The US Air Force.