The Associated Press reported that Melody Musgrove passed away Monday, 27 September 2021. A former special education teacher, she rose through administrative positions (e.g., Mississippi State Director of Special Education) to the position of Director for the US Office of Special Education Programs, serving in that role from 2010-2016, as one of the most influential administrators in special education.
At the time of her passing Professor Musgrove, who had recently retired from the faculty of the University of Mississippi, was 61 years old.
Perhaps one of the contributions for which Professor Musgrove was most well known is commonly referred to as “the Musgrove memo.” The reference is to a memorandum then-Director Musgrove sent in January 2011 to directors of special education for the various states in the US. The subject of the memo was, “A Response to Invervention (RTI) Process Cannot Be User to Delay-Deny an Evaluation for Eligibility under the Individuals with Disabiliteis Education Act (IDEA).” In the memo, Director Musgrove explained that multi-tiered systems are designed to serve entire schools, including students with disabilities or possibly unidentified disabilities; she expressed concern that requiring children to have progressed through the levels of a multi-tiered system before being evaluated for eligibility could constitute a violation of IDEA.
Accomplished in her own right, Professor Musgrove was also well connected. She married Ronnie Musgrove, former Govenor of Mississippi, in 2007.