Linda Darling-Hammond—First African-American Woman to Lead California’s State Board of Education

Linda Darling-Hammond—First African-American Woman to Lead California’s State Board of Education


Governor Gavin Newsom recently named Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond to head one of the state’s most powerful institutions, the California Board of Education making her the first African American woman to lead the 11-person board.     Dr Darling-Hammond is President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, a research institute that works with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. In order to assume her new role with the state, Darling-Hammond stepped down as Chair of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing effective immediately.  “I am excited to help the state continue its positive progress toward a more equitable and empowering education system. Sadly, though, this means I will be leaving the Commission,” she explained in a recent statement adding, “It has been a great privilege and pleasure to work with both Commissioners and staff on the important agenda we have taken on – strengthening educator preparation programs to support 21st century teaching and learning that focuses on the whole child, redesigning licensure and accreditation, and enabling investments in educator learning. I look forward to collectively helping California achieve even greater strides in the years to come.” Darling-Hammond also serves as the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network and served as faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program.       In addition, she is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the National Academy of Education and was the head of President Obama’s 2008 education transition team. Dr. Darling-Hammond has been a Commissioner since August of 2011, and the chair of the Commission since 2012. When Newsom announced her appointment to lead the State Board of Education during his State of the State speech last Tuesday he commented, “We need a new president for the State Board of Education, to lead the way and work alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and to lift up all of our students.”

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