January 23, 2019
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Appoints Chief Counsel
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Keith Yamanaka as Chief Counsel for California Department of Education (CDE). His branch, the Legal and Audits Branch, oversees the Audits and Investigations Division and provides legal advice and representation to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, CDE, and State Board of Education.
Yamanaka will both lead the Legal and Audits Branch and serve as CDE’s delegate at the CalSTRS Retirement Board. He has a diverse background in legal and executive leadership at a number of state agencies including the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) and the former California Department of Health Services.
“I am excited to have Keith join our CDE team, where he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise,” Thurmond said. “He is a strong leader and manager and will help the CDE carry out our official duties and policy goals to help all students succeed.”
Yamanaka most recently served as Chief Deputy Director and Chief Legal Officer to the CSAC, a state department responsible for distributing $2 billion in student financial aid statewide and serving over 450,000 low-income students and families annually, primarily through the Cal Grant Program. There, he also helped implement the California Dream Act Application and the Middle Class Scholarship.
Prior to CSAC, Yamanaka was Chief Advisor and Acting Chief Deputy at the former California Department of Corporations, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel at the former California Department of Health Services, Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, and Staff Counsel to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.
Yamanaka has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences—Community Development from the University of California, Davis and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He later earned a master’s degree in law in Business and Taxation from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100