San Diego Superintendent Cindy Marten Nominated for Deputy Secretary of Education
Cindy Marten was an elementary school principal when the San Diego Board of Education tapped her to be superintendent of the district in 2013. In a span of four months, Marten went from overseeing a school with 1,000 students and a $5 million budget to overseeing California’s second largest school system with 132,489 students and a $1.1 billion operating budget.
Now Marten, whose motto is “Work hard. Be kind. Dream big!”, is making another big career leap. She was recently nominated by the Biden Administration to be the deputy secretary of education, where she will oversee and manage the development of policies and programs for the U.S. Department of Education.
As chief of San Diego schools since 2013, Marten is one of the longest serving big-city school superintendents in the nation. Under her leadership, the district experienced higher graduation rates and was among the fastest improving urban school systems in the nation on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
As a principal at Central Elementary, she established a successful biliteracy program and oversaw an increase in test scores at a school where 99 percent of students were from economically disadvantaged families and 85 percent were English language learners.
In an interview with the Urban Educator after she was selected superintendent, Marten recalled how she left a high-performing school district to teach at Central Elementary because she wanted to disprove the theory that one has to have a house in a great zip code to get a good public education. “Why can’t local neighborhood public schools be the best public schools in America?” asked Marten. “I’m about that, I’m about creating high quality urban public education.”
As an active member of the Council of the Great City Schools, she advocated nationally for the needs of the nation’s urban public schoolchildren and Council Executive Director Michael Casserly looks forward to Marten continuing her advocacy as deputy secretary of education.
“Marten will serve the new Biden Administration well, and she will keep the needs of students and schools, particularly those in big-cities, front and center as our new leaders shape policy and advocate for stronger public education,” said Casserly in a news statement. “She is an outstanding choice.”
Lamont Jackson, an area superintendent for the San Diego school system, was recently named the school district’s interim superintendent.