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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #17-76
October 13, 2017
Contact: Scott Roark
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Appoints New
Professional Learning Support Division Director

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has appointed Barbara Murchison as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Professional Learning Support Division. [Note: this division is now the Educator Excellence and Equity Division]

Murchison will oversee the division’s efforts to support educators throughout their professional career, from recruitment to leadership opportunities. This division works in collaboration across the Department and the state, helping educators implement the California Standards and curriculum frameworks.

It administers several professional learning programs for educators at all levels and in all content areas, including science, technology, engineering, math, history-social science, literacy, and arts, with the goal of ensuring equitable learning opportunities for the state’s most vulnerable students, including English learners.

Murchison most recently served as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Lead, where she helped create a plan that meets federal requirements while shifting away from top-down decision-making and toward local control that helps local school districts better meet their own needs. The plan was developed over 18 months with input from thousands of Californians.

“Barbara is an exceptional leader who distinguishes herself by addressing and identifying local needs and education opportunities,” Torlakson said. “Barbara’s experience as a teacher and leader will help recruit and retain the next generation of California’s teachers, support them, and keep them striving to achieve excellence.”

Before coming to the CDE, Murchison taught for 17 years, serving students and families in urban California public schools, including extensive work with students from under-resourced communities, English learners, and students in special education programs.

Murchison earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from St. Mary’s College and a bachelor of science in nutritional science from Cornell University.

She replaces Brent Malicote, who took a position at the Sacramento County Office of Education.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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