Credit: Ashley Hopkinson/EdSource
Students at Allendale Elementary School in Oakland

Tom Armelino, the executive director of the National Association of School Superintendents, has been named to succeed Carl Cohn as executive director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence.

The agency is playing a key role in moving California from the top-down, sanctions heavy era of reform under both California and federal law to one that is intended to provide support to districts to improve student outcomes.

Armelino, 57, has deep roots in California, having served as a superintendent of the Shasta County Office of Education for 11 years. He has worked in public education for 32 years, beginning as a language arts teacher in middle school, and later as an elementary school principal and district superintendent in Enterprise Elementary School District in Redding, CA.

Photo courtesy of CCEE

Tom Armelino

He is past president of the Association of the California School Administrators, former chair of the the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), and has been a member of Gov. Jerry Brown’s “kitchen cabinet” advising him on education policy.

Armelino said he was looking forward to joining the collaborative, describing it as “agile, nimble and willing to do whatever it takes to help school districts, charter schools and county offices to help students succeed.”

Sue Burr, the board chair of the collaborative, said Armelino’s background as both a district and county superintendent, as well as his state and national leadership roles, made him “uniquely qualified” to succeed Cohn.

Typically referred to by its acronym CCEE, the collaborative is a small state agency established in 2013 by the state to support districts to improve education outcomes. Despite its size, the agency is central to what state officials are calling “the California Way,” a new statewide accountability system that is supposed to provide technical and other forms of support to districts and counties to improve student and district outcomes.

It is part of a major shift in state education policy away from the California’s 1999 Public School Accountability Act as well as the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind Law which has been replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Cohn, a former member of the State Board of Education, was formerly superintendent of the Long Beach Unified and San Diego Unified school districts. Also a veteran educator, he was the founding director of the collaborative, and will formally step down from his post in August.


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  1. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    I’m still waiting for the “increase student outcomes” part. Helping districts doesn’t mean much if the students continue to underperform.
    If helping districts doesn’t result in better outcomes, who exactly is being helped? Or do we need another decade to get that answer?