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Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, L. Karen Monroe (Photo - Courtesy of ACOE)

Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe has been appointed to serve on the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) Governing Board, a five-member panel that oversees the statewide agency’s policies, operations, and finances.

“I am honored to join the CCEE Board to contribute to the critical work taking place in support of districts across our state,” said Superintendent Monroe, who oversees 18 school districts in Alameda County serving more than 250,000 public school children. “The System of Support model is vital to student success in California and I look forward to contributing to the process that elevates its impact in our classrooms.”

The California State Senate Rules Committee selected Monroe to join the CCEE Governing Board which also includes State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and State Board of Education member Sue Burr.

“We are delighted to have a leader of Superintendent Monroe’s stature joining the Board,” said Burr, CCEE Governing Board Chair. “Her expertise in assisting urban school districts will be invaluable to our work.”

The CCEE is a statewide agency created as part of California’s Local Control Funding legislation in 2013. It is one of the key agencies charged with growing and strengthening the System of Support, a component of the state’s new school accountability system.

Working with county offices of education, CCEE provides professional expertise, experience, research, tools, and resources. The agency also acts as a coordinator, facilitator and connector to points throughout the system.

Monroe’s appointment comes as the CCEE is moving forward on several fronts to collaborate with county partners to pilot and test new approaches to closing equity and achievement gaps.

She replaces Michael Watkins, the former Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools, who served on the Board from its inception. Watkins stepped down as vice chair upon retiring from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education earlier this school year. By law, a county superintendent is required to be a voting member on the CCEE Governing Board.

“County offices of education play such an important role in supporting districts to close equity and achievement gaps,” Superintendent Monroe said. “I hope my voice and my experience representing the work of county offices will be valuable to the Board as they seek to create opportunities for collaboration and partnership.”

Since taking office in January 2015, Superintendent Monroe has worked to position the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) as a model of social justice in action. At a time of tremendous change in public education, including broad shifts in funding, standards, testing, and accountability, Monroe’s vision for the agency includes a commitment to equip students and those who serve them with the tools to access the best possible educational experience.

Her experience in educational leadership and policy includes serving as: legislative intern to the late Honorable Shirley Chisholm; Bay Area liaison for A Better Chance; a founder of the nonprofit Educational Technology Training Institute; a teacher, School Improvement Grant Coordinator, and award-winning principal in Oakland schools; Director of Academics for Seneca Family of Agencies; and Associate Superintendent of Education for Alameda County. In November of 2014, Superintendent Monroe was elected to office to lead the educational programs, services, and initiatives at ACOE.

Monroe is scheduled to be sworn in at the next CCEE Governing Board meeting on June 6.