Commission Members

Photo of Commission member Marquita Grenot-Scheyer

Marquita Grenot-Scheyer Commission Chair

Public Representative

Appointed: August 2022

Terms Expires: November 2026

Dr. Marquita Grenot-Scheyer is Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at California State University, Long Beach. She served as Assistant Vice Chancellor, Educator Preparation and Public School Programs, for the California State University (CSU), Office of the Chancellor from 2016 to 2021. In this role she was responsible for leading, coordinating, and facilitating system wide efforts to recruit, prepare, and retain teachers, counselors, and school leaders for schools and communities. Prior to this appointment, she served as Dean of the College of Education at California State University, Long Beach from 2008 to 2016. Dr. Grenot-Scheyer serves on the board of directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the WestEd board. She was a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Teacher Education Task Force (2016) on Teacher Preparation, which produced the report, Preparing teachers in today’s challenging context. She previously served two terms as a board member of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), (2013-17) and served as a commissioner, on the Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting for CAEP, (2012 to 2013).

She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education in 1990 from the joint doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Los Angeles. In recognition of her career accomplishments, she was selected as the Distinguished Alumnus, CSULA Charter College of Education, in 2008.

Photo of Commission member Bonnie Klatt

Bonnie Klatt Commission Vice Chair

Teacher Representative

Appointed: June 2014

Terms Expires: November 2025

Bonnie Klatt currently teaches English at Center High School in Antelope. She has been teaching since 1993, with a five-year break when she worked as a consultant and administrator for the California Department of Education and the California State Board of Education on projects including charter school oversight and the development of standards and assessments. Her teaching experience includes high school English, media literacy, technology, yearbook journalism, and AVID in the Center Unified School District, Grant Union High School District, and at the Natomas Charter School Performing and Fine Arts Academy. She has served as a technology mentor, helped to implement and build a California Partnership Academy program, and co-developed districtwide writing assessment tools. 

Ms. Klatt is a lifelong resident of the state and has proudly attended California public schools since kindergarten. After growing up in Redding, she earned her B.A. in English at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.A. and teaching credential in English at California State University, Sacramento.
Photo of Commission member Danette Brown

Danette Brown

Teacher Representative

Appointed: April 2022

Terms Expires: November 2024

Danette Brown is an elementary educator in La Habra City School District and she also works with Orange County Department of Education as an OCDE Project GLAD® Field Consultant. Ms. Brown brings over 27 years of experience working in public education.

Ms. Brown received her bachelor’s degree in Art History from CSU Fullerton and went on to earn a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Since 1996, Brown has served as a fourth-grade teacher, reading specialist, Title I coordinator, and academic coach. Ms. Brown received a master’s degree in Teaching, and a Reading Specialist Certificate from National University. She currently serves as a teacher on special assignment to support the design and implementation of the district’s Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS).

Ms. Brown advocates for recognizing each students’ unique assets and creating an environment where all students can be successful, with particular emphasis on supporting multilingual learners. She has designed and delivered professional learning in collaboration with Orange County Department of Education and the California Association for Bilingual Education as part of the Multilingual California Project Grant, and she serves as her district’s English Learner Committee Lead.

As an active member of the California Teachers Association, Ms. Brown has served as a liaison to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, a liaison to the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, State Council Credentials & Professional Development Committee Chair, and Good Teaching Conference Planning Committee Chair. Additionally, she has served on a variety of workgroups, including the Early Childhood Credentialing Workgroup, Collaborative Workgroup on Covid-19 Impact, Literacy Expert Workgroup, and Administrative Services Credential Standards Writing Group.
Photo of Commission member Kate Williams Browne

Kathryn Williams Browne

Ex-Officio Representative of the California Community Colleges

Appointed: September 2014

Terms Expires: Ongoing

Kate Williams Browne is a tenured professor and Chair of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Department at Skyline College and Coordinator of the San Mateo Region of the California Early Childhood Mentor Program. She currently serves as President of the Faculty Senate of Skyline College and Executive Secretary of the California Community College ECE Faculty Association. A native Californian and the first in her family with a college education, she holds a BA (with Academic Honors) in Psychology from Stanford University and MA (with Academic Scholarship) in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan. Her education credentials include Elementary Certification from Michigan, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from California, a California Children's Center Permit and a California Community College Credential. 

Among Kate's professional experiences are ECE teacher and administrator (including parent co-op, child care, bilingual preschool, kindergarten/first grade and 15 years at Stanford's Bing School); textbook writing (Beginnings & Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood Education, Beginning Essentials, To Teach Well: ECE Student Teaching Guide, and Guiding Young Children in a Diverse Society); and higher education instructor (Stanford University, Foothill, De Anza, Canada and Skyline Colleges). She also served on the Steering Committee for the ECE Competencies Integration Project at the California Department of Education. Among recent recognitions, she is the recipient of the Meyer Award for Teaching Excellence (Skyline College), ECE Professional of the Year (Peninsula Association for the Education of Young Children) and Who's Who of American Professional Women.
Photo of Commission member Jose Cardenas

Jose Cardenas

Non-Administrative Services Credential Representative

Appointed: March 2021

Terms Expires: November 2024

Jose Cardenas brings over 18 years of experience in public education. He is a first-generation college graduate and an advocate for equity and access for all students.

Dr. Cardenas is a School Counselor Program Specialist in the Stockton Unified School District. His responsibilities include overseeing district-wide coordination of their comprehensive school counseling program. Specifically, he has provided leadership to expand mental health support for Stockton students and to increase financial application completion rates across the district.

Dr. Cardenas pursued his post-secondary studies at San Diego State University, obtaining a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary studies in Chicana, Africana studies, and Child Development. After working for the Science Enrichment Program at San Diego State University, as a Head Resident Counselor, he found his dream and passion to help others. He furthered his education by attending the Community Based Block program and pursuing his Masters degree in school counseling at San Diego State University, where he also obtained his Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling. Additionally, he studied abroad with the California State University’s BCLAD Program in Queretaro, Mexico at El Tec de Monterey and La Escuela Normal de Querétaro.

Dr. Cardenas previously served as an advisor and mentor in San Diego and Chula Vista, and also worked with migrant families in the Salinas Valley. He began his career in Stockton in 2005 as a Child Welfare and Attendance Counselor and later the chair of the counseling department at Cesar Chavez High School and Health Careers Academy. Over the course of his career, Jose has served as an adjunct community college counselor and most recently as a Visiting Professor in the Counselor Education Program at CSU Stanislaus. In 2014, he obtained a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in community college from Stanislaus State University. 

Jose is an active member with the American School Counselor Association and has served as a member of the California Association of School Counselors Board of Directors. He continues to volunteer with the California Association of School Counselors on various Committees which include: Policy, Advocacy, Legislative Committee, Ethics Committee, and the Policy Governance Committee.

Photo showing Cheryl Cotton

Cheryl Cotton

Designee, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Appointed: August 10, 2023

Terms Expires: January 1, 2026

Cheryl Cotton is beginning her 30th year as an educator in California. Over the years, she has served as a teacher, a project coordinator and a school coach for a non-profit education organization, school site principal, director at the district level, assistant superintendent at a county office of education and now serves as Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education.

In this role she leads the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, the Educator Excellence and Equity Division which focuses on statewide professional learning, the Assessment Development and Administration Division, the State Special Schools and Services Division, and the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Deputy Superintendent Cotton credits her mother, a retired kindergarten teacher, and many mentors and colleagues in the field for always keeping what happens in the classroom at the forefront of her daily actions and decisions. She appreciates the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, for this opportunity to serve as his delegate of Commissioner to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Photo of Commission member Juan Cruz

Juan Cruz

School Administrator Representative

Appointed: March 2022

Terms Expires: November 2027

Juan Cruz serves as the Superintendent of Franklin-McKinley School District.  He has called San Jose home for the past 30 years since moving there to attend San Jose State University.  He is a first generation college graduate having completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science and a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership.

During his term as a student at San Jose State University, Juan began working in education by serving Migrant Education students while working for California Mini-Corps and then directly with the Migrant Education Program at the Santa Clara County Office of Education.  He worked with elementary and middle school students in the Oak Grove Elementary School District and then eventually moved on to working with high school students in the East Side Union High School District.

Juan had the good fortune of serving and growing professionally in the East Side Union High School District for 20 years.  He completed his student teaching at Yerba Buena High School and subsequently was hired to teach World and US History at the school.

After teaching for seven years, Juan left Yerba Buena High School as he accepted the position of Associate Principal of Educational Development at Piedmont Hills High School.  Shortly thereafter, he returned to serve for nearly seven years as Principal at Yerba Buena High School. Then, he had the opportunity to serve as Principal at Santa Teresa High School until his appointment as Associate Superintendent of Educational Services for the East Side Union High School District.  He held that position for three years until his appointment as Superintendent for Franklin-McKinley School District in July 2015. 

Photo of Commission member Christopher Davis

Christopher Davis

Teacher Representative

Appointed: February 2022

Terms Expires: November 2025

Dr. Christopher Davis is a middle school language arts teacher for the Berryessa Union School District and he also works with the National Board Resource Center at Stanford University as a support facilitator for teachers pursuing National Board certification. His experience in education spans 27 years.
As a proud graduate of Los Angeles area public schools, Dr. Davis graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a dual major in Pan African Studies and English and went on to receive his single subject teaching credential. It is his desire to work as a teacher to create safe spaces for his students to pursue their educational goals. Dr. Davis began his career as a middle school teacher in Covina-Valley while working as an instructor at the California State University, Los Angeles EOP&S Summer Bridge Program. Dr. Davis moved to the Bay Area and worked as a teacher and school administrator for the John Muir Charter School while working at the East Side Adult Education Program in San Jose. He earned his master’s degree from Santa Clara University and then achieved his doctorate level degree from the University of Phoenix.

Dr. Davis strongly advocates for equity, diversity, and inclusion across all curricular areas to foster culturally responsive teaching practices by participating in the district-level curriculum committee, English learner committee, and district advisory committee. As a member of the California Teachers Association, Dr. Davis has served as chapter president, treasurer, grievance chair, membership chair, and equity and human rights chair.

Dr. Davis works in the community to provide healthy meals to families in need and space for youth programs. He fundraises for scholarship funds for college bound high school students in south-central Los Angeles and Watsonville as well as writes grants for LGBTQIA+ youth programs. Dr. Davis enjoys landscape photography and is an author who enjoys writing prose and poetry.
Photo of Commission member Michael de La Torre

Michael de la Torre

Teacher Representative

Appointed: March 2021

Terms Expires: November 2024

Michael de La Torre is a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language for Early and Middle Childhood. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in Statistics and Spanish Language & Literature. 

In 1991 Michael began his teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District as an Elementary Bilingual District Intern. He earned his National Board Certification in 2002 and has maintained his certification. He has enjoyed all aspects of education, including being a mentor to new teachers, a facilitator for accomplished teachers, and a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens where he has volunteered for thousands of hours providing tours to patrons, presenting ambassador animals in the Animals & Show, and preparing high school students for the zoo’s student volunteer program where they play a vital role in fulfilling the zoo’s mission of nurturing wildlife and enriching the human experience.

A former facilitator, assessor, and board member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Michael is passionate about student learning and education. He began facilitating other teachers to achieve National Board Certification in 2002. Since 2013, he has been the coordinator of The Support Network, a non-profit collaboration of United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District, guiding teachers through the National Board Certification process by providing facilitated support to candidates.

Michael is a first-generation American son of Mexican immigrants. He currently resides in Los Angeles County with his husband and their three dogs, Archie, Russell, and Boba.

Photo of Commission member Annamarie Francois

Annamarie Francois

Ex-Officio Representative of the University of California

Appointed: May 2019

Terms Expires: Ongoing

Annamarie Francois is the Executive Director of UCLA Center X, where she leads the work of social justice educator preparation, development and support for urban school communities.

Dr. Francois is committed to making schools and schools of education equitable spaces for deep learning, critical reflection, and liberation. In her work, Francois and her colleagues at Center X collaborate with local school districts to design and implement professional learning opportunities that live at the intersection of research, practice, and social justice. She is deeply involved in teacher education where she serves as a faculty member and the program’s academic administrator.

Francois joined the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies in 1999 and became Director of the UCLA Teacher Education Program in 2010. She was named Executive Director of Center X in 2014. Since joining Center X, Francois has established IMPACT, an innovative, community-based urban teacher residency program; launched the California chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education; collaborated in the design of the UCLA and Mann-UCLA Community Schools which serve as university-assisted public schools in high-needs communities in Los Angeles; and is lead investigator for numerous grant funded initiatives that focus on innovation and research in equity-driven, content-focused educator learning.

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, Francois was a K-6 teacher and administrator at the Los Angeles Unified School District, and a founding member of the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, a grassroots charter school serving the culturally and linguistically rich communities of Pacoima and San Fernando.

A native Californian raised in Los Angeles, Francois holds a bachelor’s degree in History from UCLA, a master’s degree in Administration, Supervision and Higher Education from California State University, Northridge, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UCLA.

Francois is the mother of three amazing young adults, all of whom matriculated through K-16 public schools. Her son graduated from San Francisco State University, her eldest daughter graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, and her youngest daughter recently transferred from Pierce Community College to California State University, Northridge.

Photo of Commission member Megan Gross

Megan Gross

Teacher Representative

Appointed: March 2021

Terms Expires: November 2024

Megan Grōss discovered her love of teaching and inclusion during college when she was employed as a Respite Worker and later, after graduation, as an Advocate/Counselor at the Summer House, Inc. group homes in Yolo County.

Currently, Megan serves as an Inclusive Practices Teacher on Special Assignment in the Poway Unified School District, in San Diego. She supports educators, paraprofessionals, and administrators in advancing inclusive instruction for students with disabilities, in TK-12th grades. Prior to this position, Megan led a special education program for students identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders and facilitated their inclusion in general education courses at Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School District. During her tenure at Del Norte, Megan was recognized as the 2017 California Teacher of the Year and a finalist for National Teacher of the Year, for her work in advancing inclusive education for students with significant disabilities.

Inclusive education has been a priority for Megan since she began her teaching career in 2007 as an Inclusion Specialist where she had an opportunity to co-teach general education classes and learn how to adapt academic and elective course materials to empower all students to access general education.

Megan has presented at state and national conferences on how to include students with significant disabilities in general education and how to effectively collaborate with paraprofessionals. She is the co-author of two books on inclusive education, The Inclusion Toolbox and ParaEducate. Megan has been a lecturer for pre-service educators, teaching courses in special education and Universal Design for Learning at California State University, Sacramento and Loyola Marymount University.

Megan is a lifelong California resident and grew up in Northern California, where she is a proud product of public schools in the Oak Grove Unified and Morgan Hill Unified School Districts. She received her Bachelor of Science in Genetics at the University of California Davis in 2002 and Education Specialist Credentials in Mild to Moderate and Moderate Severe Disabilities at California State University Sacramento in 2006. Megan earned a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University in 2020.

Photo of Commission member Johanna Hartwig

Johanna Hartwig

Public Representative

Appointed: June 2018

Terms Expires: November 2024

Johanna Hartwig first became interested in education policy when serving as her high school’s school board representative in the Livermore Valley Unified School District. Johanna benefitted from 12 years of the District’s great public education. Through her early Board service, Johanna’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the California public school system deepened and expanded, as did her appreciation for the teachers, administrators and school board members who support the system. 

Johanna built on her California education by attending Yale University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in history. After working for a number of years in New York City, Johanna then earned a law degree and a public policy degree from the University of Michigan. In graduate school, Johanna took a particular interest in classes addressing education reform and equity issues. She also served as a student attorney on child welfare cases through the law school’s clinic. 

Johanna had always planned to return to the West Coast, and did so after graduate school. She worked as a practicing attorney in corporate litigation for two international law firms based in San Francisco. While practicing, she undertook extensive pro bono work. Johanna also served as a law clerk for a judge on the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and simultaneously as the judge’s ethics clerk for the federal judiciary’s ethics committee. Johanna currently serves as the Assistant Dean for Career Planning & Legal Community Engagement at the University of San Francisco School of Law, which is one of the most diverse law schools in the country. 
Photo of Commission member Susan Heredia

Susan Heredia

School Board Member Representative

Appointed: March 2021

Terms Expires: November 2024

Susan Heredia is a board member in the Natomas Unified School District in Sacramento County. Dr. Heredia was first elected to the board of trustees for the Natomas Unified School District in 2000 after having served as a PTSA member, a representative of the American Lakes School Site Council, and the District’s Parent Advisory Board. Currently, she is a member of a newly formed committee charged with identifying how to more effectively coordinate and integrate site based mental health services in school districts.  

Dr. Heredia served as the Director-At-Large, Hispanic of the California School Board Association having been elected for multiple terms by the CSBA Delegate Assembly. In 2012 she was elected to the Delegate Assembly. In December 2019, Dr. Heredia was elected as Vice-President of the California School Board Association. At the December 2020 meeting of the CSBA Delegate Assembly, Dr. Heredia was elected as President-Elect and will assume the role of President in December 2021.

Preceding her retirement, Dr. Heredia was Chair of the Graduate and Professional Studies in Education Division at CSU Sacramento. In this role, she administered thirteen graduate programs, which included Special Education, School Psychology, Child Development and School, Career and Marriage, Family Therapy Counseling Programs. Prior to serving as Department Chair, she was a professor in the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department and faculty coordinator for the McNair’s Scholar Program. Earlier in her career, Dr. Heredia taught in the credential program at UC, Davis, was a bilingual teacher in Sacramento City Unified School District and served as a manager for a district program.

Dr. Heredia earned a doctorate in socio-cultural studies from the UC Davis, and a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from CSU, Sacramento. She also holds a life teaching credential with an emphasis in bilingual education.

Ira Lit

Ira Lit

Faculty Member Representative

Appointed: February 2023

Terms Expires: November 2025

Ira Lit, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, where he also serves as the Faculty Director of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP).  Professor Lit is the co-lead of Stanford’s initiative on Learning Differences and the Future of Special Education, and he formerly served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). Professor Lit spent the last year as a Stanford “Scholars in Service” Fellow engaged as a Senior Policy Fellow in the Office of United States Senator, Cory A. Booker. A former public elementary school teacher, Professor Lit’s research and practice focuses on teacher education, elementary education, and educational equity. Professor Lit previously served as Executive Director for the "Teachers for a New Era" initiative at the Bank Street College of Education from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Lit is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). His book, entitled “The Bus Kids” explores the experiences of minority students in a voluntary desegregation program.
Photo of Commission member Monica Martinez

Monica Martinez

Public Representative

Appointed: June 2017

Terms Expires: November 2025

As the Program Director for College Success at the Haas Jr. Fund, Dr. Martinez leads strategies and partnerships for achieving the Fund's goal of leveling the playing field in higher education and reducing the financial barriers to a college degree in California. As the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Learning Policy Institute, she led the Reimagine College Success initiative which allowed her to address college access and success by bridging higher education with innovative K–12 systems. Prior to this role, she was the Chief School Support Program Officer for the XQ Institute, an operations foundation supported by the Emerson Collective committed to helping transform high schools. Previous roles included serving as a Senior Fellow for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation through which she wrote a book, Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the Twenty-First Century that highlighted how eight schools redesigned their schools through meaningful and relevant learning experiences and collective and personalized support for students to be self-directed learners.

In addition to serving on the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Dr. Martinez was an appointee to the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics by President Barack Obama. As an education strategist, she served in an advisory capacity to multiple organizations, including nonprofits, state systems, and foundations to assist in creating, revising, or implementing their education strategies and initiatives. Earlier in her career she served as the President of the New Tech Network and the Vice President for Education Strategy at The KnowledgeWorks Foundation. While in Washington, D.C. she was a senior associate at the Institute for Educational Leadership and The National Partnerships for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching. In 2016, she was named as a Distinguished Alumni of New York University.

Photo of Commission member Shavri Pavri

Shireen Pavri

Ex-Officio Representative of California State University

Appointed: July 2022

Terms Expires: Ongoing

Dr. Shireen Pavri is the Assistant Vice Chancellor, Educator and Leadership Programs for the California State University (CSU), Office of the Chancellor. She advocates for educator preparation at the state and national levels and supports CSU campuses in achieving equity and excellence in educator and leadership programs. Along with her team, she provides vision and support for the CSU’s commitment to prepare high-quality teachers, counselors, psychologists, and leaders, coordinates the CSU’s contributions to PK-12 reform, and supports the academic preparation of PK-12 students to ensure they are prepared for college success.

Dr. Pavri has achieved more than 30 years of experience in teaching, school psychology, research and leadership, including 13 years as Dean and Associate Dean at Cal State Long Beach. As a Professor of Special Education and higher education leader, Dr. Pavri has published and presented widely in the areas of special education and school psychology and has served as Principal Investigator on multiple federal, state, and foundation grants.

Dr. Pavri started her career as a cross-categorical and multilingual special education teacher in Mumbai, India. She holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, master’s and education specialist degrees in School Psychology from Miami University in Ohio, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Special Education from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai.

David Simmons

Human Resources Administrator Representative

Appointed: February 2020

Terms Expires: November 2027

David Simmons has been the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Goleta Union School District (GUSD) since 2017. In that capacity, he oversees Human Resources, Data Management, Medical Benefits, and Labor Relations for GUSD. Prior to working in Goleta, he served in multiple administrative positions for the Ventura County Office of Education, including Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Director of Bilingual Teacher Training and Paraeducator-To-Teacher Programs. His first teaching assignment was as a teacher of middle school mathematics in the Ventura Unified School District.

For over thirty years, Mr. Simmons has worked with CTC to improve and diversify the teaching profession by supporting teachers and expanding pathways into the teaching profession. Over his career, he has supervised nine CTC-approved credential programs: General Education Teacher Induction; Education Specialist Teacher Induction; Administrative Services Induction; Language and Academic Development Preliminary; Added Authorizations in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Orthopedic Impairments, and Early Childhood Special Education; English Learner Added Authorizations (CCSD); and Designated Subjects Credentials in Adult Education, Career Technical Education, and Special Subjects. He cofacilitated CTC’s General Education Induction Standards Panel. He served on CTC’s Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel (TAP) and the Mathematics Teacher Preparation and Assessment Advisory Panel. For several years, he also served as the designated representative to CTC for the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).

Mr. Simmons is a lifelong California resident. He earned a bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from California State University, Northridge. His credentials include a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and an Administrative Services Credential.

Image of Commissioner Phuong Uzoff

Phuong Uzoff

Teacher Representative

Appointed: January 2024

Terms Expires: November 2027

Dr. Phuong Uzoff, an educator with a rich eighteen-year tenure, traces her roots to the vibrant city of San Francisco. Her profound commitment to education and fervent advocacy for reform were nurtured during her formative years in school, laying the foundation for a lifelong passion in education.

As a Teach For America Alumni, Phuong embodies the essence of making a transformative impact on students' lives. Commencing her teaching journey with the Los Angeles Unified School District, she currently serves as a dedicated STEAM and computer science specialist for kindergarten through fifth grade in the El Segundo Unified School District.

Phuong's academic prowess is highlighted by her doctoral research titled "Virtual School Teachers’ Science Efficacy Beliefs: The Effects of Community of Practice on Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs." As the Science Lead Technology Teacher/Next Generation Science Standards Mentor for Richmond Street Elementary, she spearheads initiatives to enhance science education.

An advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and STEAM teaching, Phuong has conducted enlightening professional learning opportunities and presented at various national and international STEAM conferences. Her commitment extends to the forefront of technology, where she currently serves as an AI Advisory member for her school district, aiming to raise awareness about the responsible and effective use of AI in education.

Phuong is a lifelong learner. She earned a doctorate in learning technologies from Pepperdine University, a master’s degree in elementary education from Loyola Marymount University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Francisco State University.

Beyond the realm of education, Phuong finds joy in culinary pursuits, showcasing her love for cooking and baking. Her cherished moments are spent in the company of loved ones and her dog, Habiby.

Photo of Commission member Kimberly White-Smith

Kimberly White-Smith

Ex-Officio Representative of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

Appointed: August 2021

Terms Expires: Ongoing

Dr. Kimberly A. White-Smith is a Professor and Dean of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at the University of San Diego. She represents the AICCU institutions (private, independent, non-profit colleges and universities) on the commission. With over 25 years of urban schooling and educator development experience, Dr. White-Smith endeavors to foster academic justice for Black, Indigenous, Queer, Latinx, and neurodivergent students through enhanced learning environments, policies, and practices. She has authored publications on teacher and student learning, equity, leadership, and Black Mother Scholars.

Dr. White-Smith attended the University of Southern California (Ed.D., Learning and Instruction), Teachers College, Columbia University (MA, Curriculum and Instruction), and the University of California at Berkeley (BA, Psychology).

A former public school teacher and resident of South Los Angeles, Dr. White-Smith is passionate about urban education and has participated in many university-community-based partnerships designed to support access to quality education for minoritized, neurodiverse,  and economically oppressed students. She has authored articles, books, and chapters on diversity, inclusivity, and leadership, such as School Effectiveness in US Amid Crisis: Moral Capacity Building for Social Justice Leadership, Co-authored with Drs. Jacob Easley and Nilda Soto-Ruiz and “That’s why I say stay in school”: Black Mothers’ Parental Involvement, Cultural Wealth, and Exclusion in their Sons Schooling co-authored with Dr. Quaylan Allen.

In addition to the CTC, Dr. White-Smith engages the state and national conversation on teacher education through critical positions. She is President-elect for the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher Education (AILACTE), and an Executive Board member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). She also serves as vice-president on the California Council of Teacher Education (CCTE) board.

Current Commission Vacancies

  • None
Updated February 15, 2024