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SBE Members

Profile information and photos of California State Board of Education members.

Michael Kirst, President | Ilene Straus, Vice President
Sue Burr | Bruce Holaday | Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon | Patricia Ann Rucker | Nicolasa Sandoval
Ting L. Sun | Karen Valdes | Trish Boyd Williams | Jaden Gray


Michael Kirst, President State Board of Education

Dr. Michael Kirst

State Board President

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: January 15, 2014
Took Office: January 12, 2011

Michael Kirst Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. He has been on the Stanford faculty since 1969. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, and Director of Program Planning for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Office of Education. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His latest books are, From High School to College with Andrea Venezia (2004) and Political Dynamics of American Education (2009). Professor Kirst is a member of both the National Academy of Education and the International Academy of Education.

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Ilene Straus, Vice President State Board of Education

Dr. Ilene Straus

State Board Vice President

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: March 10, 2017
Took Office: January 12, 2011

Dr. Ilene Straus served as the assistant superintendent for Educational Services in the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Prior to that, she was a teacher and an elementary, middle, and high school principal and senior director of secondary education. Straus received her bachelor’s degree and elementary teaching credential from University of California, Los Angeles, her master's degree in educational administration from California State University, Northridge, and her doctorate in educational leadership from University of Southern California.

Straus began her career as a teacher in the Lennox School District, and served as an assistant principal at two large K-6 schools before becoming a K-7 principal at the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District. Dr. Straus was named principal of Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica where she served for 16 years, leading the school to national distinction as the Disney School of the Year, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, and twice recognized as a California Distinguished School. Straus was named the California Secondary Principal of the Year in 1991, and received the YWCA Woman of the Year Award in 1996.

In 2002, Straus was named chief educational officer/principal of Santa Monica High School, where she guided the redesign of a large comprehensive high school into six smaller learning communities, helping the school to raise its academic performance significantly with all subgroups. The U.S. Department of Education declared the school a national model for high school redesign, and Newsweek named it one of the country’s top 300 performing high schools. Straus next served as the senior director of Secondary Education for Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and joined Beverly Hills Unified School District in the fall of 2006 as assistant superintendent, where she developed stronger high school graduation requirements and intervention programs to support student success, as well as initiatives in mathematics and literacy.

She has taught graduate courses that focus on Pre-K through 16 reform and change, policy influences, college access and success, schools and equity, teachers and teaching, standards and assessment and educational leadership, at California State University, Northridge, University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount University, and currently teaches in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Straus currently focuses her time on State Board of Education priorities and responsibilities, consulting, educational projects and graduate teaching.

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Sue Burr, Member State Board of Education

Ms. Sue Burr

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: March 10, 2017

Took Office: January 16, 2013
 

Sue Burr served as the executive director of the California State Board of Education and as education policy advisor to Governor Brown from 2011 to 2012. She served as the executive director of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association from 2006 to 2011 and was the Association’s governmental relations director from 2003 to 2006. Burr was the assistant superintendent for business services with the Elk Grove Unified School District from 2000 to 2003. She served as the undersecretary of education under Governor Gray Davis from 1999 to 2000, also serving as interim secretary in 2000. Burr was co-director of the California State University Institute for Education Reform from 1995 to 1999, a principal consultant for the California Senate Education Committee from 1991 to 1994 and a principal consultant for the California Senate Appropriations Committee from 1986 to 1991. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Sacramento.

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Bruce Holaday, Member State Board of Education

Mr. Bruce Holaday

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: January 19, 2016
Took Office: July 11, 2012
 
 

Bruce Holaday has been the Director of Educational Advancement for Wildlife Associates since 2010. He was formerly the Director of Newpoint Tampa High School from 2009 to 2010 and Director of the Oakland Military Institute from 2004 to 2009.

Mr. Holaday served in multiple positions at the Culver Academies from 1976 to 2004, including Development Director, Director of Summer Programs, and English teacher.

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Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon, Member State Board of Education

Dr. Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Took Office: May 6, 2015
 
 

Dr. Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon has invested 15 years in the field of education working in various capacities including teaching, research, operations, policy, program development and college access. Despite a wide gamut of experiences at the local and national level, Feliza has predominately focused on issues of access and equity, specifically as it relates to Latino students and English learners.

A champion of equitable education and opportunities for all students, Feliza currently serves as the Senior Director of K-16 Education at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). As Senior Director, Feliza leads and coaches the national Youth Leadership team to develop a common vision and practice for high quality education programs including culturally relevant service-learning, college and career-readiness, STEM initiatives, and post-secondary programs geared at first-generation college students.

Feliza holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in Political Science, a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in City and Regional Planning, and a doctoral degree in Education Leadership from the University of California, Irvine. Feliza resides in the great City of Long Beach with her husband, a veteran teacher at Long Beach Unified School District, and their two young children.

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Patricia Ann Rucker, Member State Board of Education

Ms. Patricia Ann Rucker

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: January 15, 2014
Took Office: January 12, 2011
 

Patricia Ann Rucker, of Elk Grove, has worked as the Legislative Advocate for the California Teachers Association since 2008. She also served as a consultant for the California Teachers Association on instruction and professional development from 1997 to 2008 and as a teacher in the Del Paso Heights School District during this same period Rucker was a lecturer in the Teacher Education department at CSU Sacramento from 1983 to 1997.

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Nicolasa Sandoval, Member State Board of Education

Dr. Nicolasa Sandoval

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: January 19, 2016
Took Office: January 16, 2013
 
 

As Education Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Sandoval guides their strategic educational investments. The Tribe's educational initiatives embrace children and families from birth through adulthood by supporting kindergarten readiness, educational attainment, and career transitions.

A lecturer in the Education Department at the University of California at Santa Barbara (“UCSB”), Sandoval instructs undergraduates pursuing careers in teaching, academic counseling, and school psychology. Her primary research interest is family engagement in education. As an evaluator at UCSB, she collected and analyzed data for Project RENEW, a professional development and leadership initiative for mathematics instructors.

At the Nonprofit Support Center, Sandoval managed the organization's consulting practice and served as a trainer and facilitator for their professional development programs targeting nonprofit leaders. In her capacity as Assistant Director for Community Services at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (“NMAI”), she directed professional development and technical assistance for Native Americans in museum practice.

She holds a Ph.D. in Education from UCSB, M.A. in Museum Studies from the George Washington University, and B.A. in Public Relations from Pepperdine University. She resides in Lompoc with her husband, John Gustafsson, and their beloved canine companions, Stella and Midnight.

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Ting L. Sun, Member State Board of Education

Dr. Ting L. Sun

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Took Office: May 6, 2015
 
 

Ting Lan Sun is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Sacramento-based Natomas Charter School (NCS). She has more than 28 years’ experience in the field of education and has been actively involved in educational policy for over 23 years as a teacher, administrator, and charter school operator.

Prior to her tenure as Executive Director of NCS, Ting served as the Educational Programs Director, leading curriculum, instruction, staff development, and professional growth. From 1997–2000, she was an Educational Programs Consultant in the California Department of Education’s Charter Schools Unit where she participated in the development of charter school administrative policies and regulations, and the administration of the federal public charter schools grant program. She has also served as a senior consultant for Cambridge Education, an international school quality review and educational consulting firm.

Ting was Vice President of Leadership and Quality for the California Charter Schools Association from 2003-2006 where she developed and implemented the Association’s quality assurance strategy and initiatives, including standards articulation, quality site visits, and program reviews. Ting was also responsible for technical assistance publications, knowledge briefs, reports and articles published by the organization. In addition she has created, directed and implemented effective leadership training programs in all aspects of charter school administration and served as a mentor for the Leadership for Educational Entrepreneur (LEE) program at Arizona State University. Ting served on California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) from 2007-2011 and as chair of the CTC from 2009-2011. Ting also co-chaired the state's Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) Advisory Committee from 2011-2015.

Ting received her bachelor’s degree in Latin and English from Austin College, a master’s degree in education from Stanford University, and a doctorate of education from the University of California at Davis.

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Karen Valdes, Member State Board of Education

Dr. Karen Valdes

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Took Office: March 10, 2017
 
 

Dr. Karen Valdes serves as the assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the Menifee Union School District. Prior to her current post, she served as a curriculum coordinator and then regional director for the Riverside County Office of Education. Valdes received her bachelor’s degree and elementary credential, as well as her master’s degree, in educational psychology, with an emphasis in special education, from Loyola Marymount University. She holds special education credentials as well as a resource specialist program certificate. In addition, she has a bilingual certificate of competence. She completed her doctorate in organizational leadership at Argosy University. Presently, she is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University.

Valdes started her career in the Lennox School District in Los Angeles. She held teaching positions in Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District and Temecula Valley Unified School District. Twice named Teacher of the Year at Temecula Valley Unified School District, she was named Riverside County Teacher of the Year in 1987. Dr. Valdes also worked a number of years for the United States Department of Education, in the Teacher to Teacher program.

In 2016, she was appointed by the State Board of Education to serve on the California Practitioners Advisory Panel (CPAG).

Valdes is active in numerous organizations, including the Menifee Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors where she is a member. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (CASCD).

Valdes is married to Manny Valdes, her husband of 32 years. Together they have three children, all graduates from California public schools. Their eldest, Natalie, is an attorney in San Diego, their second daughter, Carly, is a first grade elementary teacher, and their youngest, Max, will be attending college in the fall.

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Trish Boyd Williams, Member State Board of Education

Ms. Trish Boyd Williams

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-0827

Reappointed: January 14, 2015
Took Office: February 9, 2011
 

Serving as a member of the California State Board of Education since January 2011, Williams has focused her service on the SBE priorities of charter school policy and appeals, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and Computer Science.  In 2014, Williams received the inaugural Bertrand Award for Outstanding Science Advocacy from the California Science Teachers Association for her contributions toward advancing NGSS. She currently divides her time between SBE service, consulting on projects and issues of interest, and volunteering as an educational advocate on behalf of students.

Prior to joining the State Board, Williams served 19 years as the Executive Director of EdSource, a statewide nonprofit based in the Bay Area. In this role, Williams led the expansion of the agency’s policy, research, and communications work into a wide range of current K-14 policy, practice, and reform issues. In addition to her Executive Director role, Williams served from 1993 to 2011 as the design architect, first author, and project lead --- with a team that included faculty from Stanford and researchers from the American Institutes for Research and WestEd --- for a series of large-scale survey studies, including the landmark Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades study released in February 2010. When Williams left EdSource to accept service on the State Board, she was honored in a Resolution adopted by the California Assembly for her leadership and commitment to California’s public education system and students.

Prior to moving to California in 1990, Williams served three years as a Presidential Management Fellow in Washington, D.C. and eight years as a policy analyst for the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth. Williams has a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Tulsa.  She now lives in San Diego with her husband, VP of Development for Poseidon Water. They have two grown sons, one in the creative industry in LA and another at UCSD medical school in a surgical residency.

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Jaden Gray, Student Member State Board of Education

Jaden Gray

Student Member

Contact:
State Board of Education
1430 N Street, Room 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814

Took Office: August 1, 2017
Term Expires: July 31, 2018 

Jaden Gray is a senior at James Logan High School. Gray has been involved on his school campus through the Associated Student Body since 2015, holding the positons of Board Representative and Class President. He has also been team captain of the speech and debate team since 2014, the founder of Young Democrat’s Club and Student Head on the School Site Council. Outside of his academics, Gray is a member of the varsity track and field team. Gray has integrated himself into the community as Union City Youth Commission President and a Youth Representative on the Union City General Plan Committee. Since 2016, he has also been an intern clerk in the Law Offices of John L. Burris.

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Questions: State Board of Education | sbe@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0827 
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 7, 2017
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