News Update

Alison Yoshimoto-Towery joins State Board of Education

Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, until recently Los Angeles Unified’s chief academic officer, is the State Board of Education’s newest member.

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Yoshimoto-Towery, 51, late last month, in time for her first board meeting this week. She fills the last opening on the 11-member board.

Courtesy of UCLA

Alison Yoshimoto-Towery

This month, Yoshimoto-Towery assumed her position as executive director of the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning, a new organization located at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies that the Legislature established in 2019 with $6 million in funding. It will bring together experts from the University of California and the California State University with a focus on literacy in general, and initially on dyslexia and other needs requiring early intervention. The collaborative will translate research  to provide training and guidance for classroom teachers, Yoshimoto-Towery said.

Before becoming L.A. Unified’s chief academic officer in 2019, she worked in various positions in the district, including director of Instructional Operations, instructional director, school principal, literacy coach, teacher and as a paraprofessional.

She said that she looks forward to seeing how the state board can help integrate new state investments in universal transitional kindergarten, expanded learning opportunities, community schools, teacher recruitment and development  and student mental health.

“Coordinated well, those are exceptional opportunities for districts,” she said. “When we center our work around the lived experiences of our families, students, and educators, we can support what works best and what makes the most sense in terms of implementation.”

The Legislature must confirm Yoshimoto-Towery’s appointment.

She is the last nominee that Newsom named this year to fill four openings. The others are Brenda Lewis, who retired last year associate superintendent of Kern High School District; Sharon Olken, executive director of Gateway Public Schools in San Francisco; and Gabriela Orozco Gonzalez, an elementary school teacher who has taught in Montebello Unified for more than 20 years.