SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Catalina Cifuentes as Deputy Superintendent of the Performance, Planning, and Technology branch of the California Department of Education (CDE). Her branch oversees programs promoting innovation and improved student achievement, including statewide student assessment, school and district interventions, state and federal accountability, and the collection and reporting of educational data.
Cifuentes has a diverse background at multiple levels of the education system—including teaching middle and high school, counseling, and serving in leadership positions at the Riverside County Office of Education.
“I am excited to have Catalina join our CDE team.” Thurmond said. “She is a passionate, committed, and dedicated professional with a proven track record of improving outcomes for all students. Her accolades alone show how respected her work is, and we are lucky that she will continue that work here at CDE.”
Cifuentes most recently served as the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness at the Riverside County Office of Education. For her work coordinating counselors, leading career-readiness initiatives, and directing the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, she won the county’s Education Administrator of the Year Award. Among others, she won the 2018 National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Inclusion, Access, and Success Award, honoring her work making post-secondary opportunities available to historically underrepresented students.
She serves as Vice Chair of the California Student Aid Commission, the state agency responsible for administering financial aid programs for students attending public and private universities, colleges, and vocational schools in California. Cifuentes is also a California State Team Member of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher National Committee, which encourages students to complete education past high school—whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.
Prior to the Riverside County Office of Education, she was a head School Counselor at Santiago High School in the Corona Norco Unified School District. She started her education career teaching at Norco High School and Sierra Middle School.
Cifuentes holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from California State University, San Bernardino and a master’s degree in Educational Counseling from Azusa Pacific University. She earned her California Teaching Credential from the University of California, Riverside.