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Our Staff

Ombudsman

Joyanna Smith was appointed as the Ombudsman for Public Education in February 2014. The oldest of eight children, she grew up with a deep appreciation for the importance of education. She previously worked in the education sector as a school leader at a DC public charter school and as an attorney fellow with the Educational Opportunities Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She also worked as a Labor Relations Advisor at the DC Department of Public Works, a policy analyst at the DC Department of Disability Services, and a real estate attorney at a law firm in Maryland. She received a BA from Brown University and a JD from The George Washington University Law School.

Assistant Ombudsman

Beryl Trauth-Jurman was hired as an Assistant Ombudsman in February 2017 after serving as a Fellow for the office in 2015 and 2016. He has spent the last ten years working with youth and he is passionate about helping parents and children understand their rights in the education system. Beryl has been trained in mediation, facilitation and conflict coaching and he hopes to utilize these skills to help empower the parents and families that contact the Ombudsman’s office. Beryl received his BA and Master’s degree from George Mason University, School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a focus on interpersonal and small group resolution practices. 

Program Associate

Khadijah Williams is the Program Associate for both the Office of the Student Advocate and the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education. She became Program Associate in November 2015 after serving as Fellow for the Ombudsman office.  Khadijah credits her experience as a homeless youth in public schools in California for her ability to understand and empathize with parents' concerns regarding their children's education. Prior to the State Board of Education, Khadijah worked for edCount, which supports states and school districts in fulfilling various policy, program, and assessment needs, and Amplify, which creates digital common-core aligned curriculum and assessments. Khadijah holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Harvard University.