California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tony Thurmond is the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, overseeing the largest public school system in the nation with more than 6.3 million students and over 10,000 schools. His top priority is improving equity, access, and opportunity for California’s public school students. He has created initiatives focused on closing the achievement gap for the state’s most vulnerable students, and he is dedicated to supporting educators in delivering an equitable education to all students. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he secured $6.6 billion in funding to safely re-open California schools for in-person instruction, distributed 920 million school meals for students, and secured face coverings and personal protective equipment for all students and school staff. He has worked to ensure schools are able to implement the layered safety measures necessary to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, including mandatory masking, vaccines for all eligible individuals, improved ventilation, and regular, rapid COVID-19 testing. He created the first Office of Equity within the Department of Education to promote social and racial justice; launched the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force to expand access to low-cost internet and devices to thousands of students and families; and raised $1 million dollars to establish an Innovation Challenge. He is a graduate and former student body president of Temple University, and he holds dual master’s degrees in law and social policy and social work from Bryn Mawr College.