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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #19-46
June 11, 2019
Contact: Cynthia Butler
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Thurmond Appoints New California Department of Education Division Directors

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed new directors for the California Department of Education (CDE) Improvement and Accountability Division (IAD) and Career and College Transition Division (CCTD).

Denise Parnell, E.D., an expert administrator of student support services, will lead the IAD.

Pradeep Kotamraju, Ph.D., a nationally recognized researcher in career technical education (CTE), will head the CCTD.

“Dr. Parnell and Dr. Kotamraju are two established and highly regarded educators in their fields,” said Thurmond. “Both bring extensive experience, knowledge, and unique perspectives to their new positions. They are welcome additions to the CDE team, and their leadership will enable the work that supports and improves educational opportunities for all of our students to continue.”

Dr. Parnell was recently the Director of Student Support Services and Federal Categorical Programs at the Cajon Valley Union School District. As the lead for the district’s student support services, Dr. Parnell’s role included evaluating and improving the quality of instruction, supporting and empowering administrators, and implementing systems of support for all students. As the Director for IAD, Dr. Parnell’s responsibilities will include overseeing Title I programs; promoting and funding equity-focused strategies for disadvantaged students within county offices of education and districts statewide; and instituting systems that provide resources, intervention methods, and support to improve student academic performance.

Dr. Parnell has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from California State University, Chico, and a master’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino. She received her Doctorate of Education in K–12 Leadership in Urban Education from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Parnell will assume her new position on July 1. She replaces former IAD Director Melanie Schoeppe.

Dr. Kotamraju is the former Iowa Department of Education Bureau Chief, CTE. In his previous roles, Dr. Kotamraju was the CTE administrator of state- and federally funded CTE programs in Minnesota and Iowa. In Iowa, he guided the redesign of the Iowa Department of Education’s CTE program and managed the department’s dual enrollment programs.

At the CDE, Dr. Kotamraju will oversee the state’s CTE Incentive Grant program, which is the largest of its kind in the country. In addition to CTE programs, Dr. Kotamraju will support secondary education, adult education, workforce development, and technology-centric learning. Dr. Kotamraju has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Delhi, India; a master’s in economics from George Washington University; and a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois.

Dr. Kotamraju will start his new position on July 1. He replaces former CCTD Director Donna Wyatt.            

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

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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