December 21, 2011
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Chooses Respected
Scholar and Author to Head English Learner Efforts
SACRAMENTO—Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, a leading scholar, published author and longtime advocate for students, will lead the California Department of Education's (CDE) efforts to help school districts across the state teach English learners effectively, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
Cadiero-Kaplan is a professor at San Diego State University, where she chairs the Department of Policy Studies in Language and Cross Cultural Education, focusing on biliteracy and English language acquisition.
She began her career teaching elementary and secondary special education, as well as English as a Second Language at the community college level, and went on to become a professor and a provider of professional development for teachers and administrators working with bilingual students.
"In a state where a quarter of students come to school needing to learn English, it's impossible to overstate the importance of being equipped to teach them," said California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "We have made great strides at the Department of Education, and, with Dr. Cadiero-Kaplan at the helm of those efforts, I have no doubt we'll make many more."
She will be leading the CDE's English Learner Support Division, which Torlakson created so that schools could effectively address a growing need in communities across California. He also created an English Learner Integrated Action Team within the department, which is developing a statewide plan for English learners to better support districts and schools.
Cadiero-Kaplan has a range of publications focused on the role of education and language policies in curriculum development and teachers' professional development, including "The Literacy Curriculum & Bilingual Education: A Critical Examination."
She is a past president of the California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL), past vice president of the CATESOL Education Foundation and current president of Californians Together.
Cadiero-Kaplan holds a bachelor's degree from the University of San Diego in psychology and elementary education and a master's degree in cross-cultural education, special education and ESL from San Diego State University. She also holds a doctorate in curriculum development and instruction from Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University.
She will join the California Department of Education in mid-January.