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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #19-02
January 9, 2019
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

Lupita Cortez Alcalá Sworn In as Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 9

First Latina to hold the position

SACRAMENTO—Lupita Cortez Alcalá was sworn in as Chief Deputy to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond on Wednesday, January 9, at the State Board of Education meeting after the board approved her appointment. She will be the first Latina to serve in the position.

“Lupita is a proven education leader with the experience, dedication, and talent to serve effectively as Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education,” said Thurmond. “She has deep knowledge of education policy and a record filled with achievements.”

Cortez Alcalá has 20 years of experience in education. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission, and a prominent voice in the statewide discussion on college cost and financial aid reform. She also served as Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

“Lupita brings a wealth of experience on a wide range of issues, from early childhood education to high school career programs, and, recently, higher education,” said Michael W. Kirst, President of the State Board of Education. “There are few people in public education with her breadth of knowledge. Her experience gives her a strong platform from which to lead.”

Cortez Alcalá is a public school parent, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, English Learner, and she and her siblings are the first in her family to attend college in the U.S.

Cortez Alcalá served for more than 12 years at the California Department of Education, where she was Deputy Superintendent in the Teaching and Learning Support Branch. During her tenure, Cortez Alcalá oversaw the creation of the English Learner Division, revamped the migrant education program, initiated the Seal of Biliteracy to recognize students fluent in two or more languages, and oversaw the development of the English language arts/English language development framework and standards, which aim to improve language development for English learners.

In addition, she oversaw the implementation of the $500 million California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) grants and initiated CDE's first California Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s in planning administration and social policy from the Harvard University School of Education.

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

Last Reviewed: Friday, June 16, 2023
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