SAN DIEGO (CNS) - President-Elect Joe Biden announced Monday he has nominated San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten to the post of deputy secretary in the federal Department of Education.
Marten has been SDUSD superintendent since 2013. She got her start as a teacher and school-wide literacy specialist in the Poway Unified School District and has worked as an educator for 32 years, including 17 years as a teacher and stretches as principal and vice principal.
She worked for 10 years at Central Elementary in the City Heights neighborhood, where she established a bi-literacy program, a hands-on school garden program, integrated arts education, after-school and preschool programs, a daycare center for employees' children and a community health and wellness center for students and their families.
Marten was chosen as one of the 2018 Business Women of the Year by the San Diego Business Journal and was awarded the 2015 National Conflict Resolution Center Local Peacemaker Award.
She holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse and a master's degree in teaching and learning from UC San Diego.
In a letter to SD Unified families, Marten said:
This week, our nation will celebrate a new beginning, as we witness the inauguration of President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. It will be, in the words of another great president, “not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom -- symbolizing an end as well as a beginning -- signifying renewal as well as change.” I am honored to share with you that President-Elect Biden has invited me to be a part of that change as his nominee to be the next United States Deputy Secretary of Education. Therefore, I will be leaving my post as your Superintendent, following confirmation by the United States Senate.
I have already spoken with Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona, and I have never been more optimistic about the future of the American education system. I have also spoken with the San Diego Unified Board of Education to ensure a seamless transition. Everyone remains focused on providing our students with a full recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
I grew up in San Diego Unified, attended Hardy Elementary and Mann Middle schools, served as principal at Central Elementary and as your Superintendent since 2013. I have had the joy of watching some of our students learn to read for the first time; I’ve seen others become the first in their families to graduate from college. I had the privilege of seeing the middle school I attended be replaced by a brand new state-of-the-art building as part of an $8 billion bond program. It is the love and support of my hometown that has made all of this possible, and I am deeply grateful for having been entrusted with the sacred responsibility of educating your children.
Most of all, I am grateful for our students, who continue to inspire me with their determination and joy, from the youngest learners to the oldest. In order to spark resiliency in our students, we have focused on social and emotional learning, teaching the whole child and always offering access to the arts. In return, San Diego Unified students achieved the highest graduation rate among big-city districts in California and the fastest reading growth of large urban districts nationwide in 2019. Simply put, every time we have challenged our students to accomplish more and given them the resources to do so, they have not only met the challenge - they have exceeded it.
Thank you to our students, parents, professional educators, support staff, administrators, board members and everyone who has allowed me to be part of your own incredible life journey. I would like to leave you with excerpts from a poem that I have turned to many times during the current crisis for inspiration. It is from the incomparable Maya Angelou, and it is called, “Continue. [track.spe.schoolmessenger.com]” I encourage you to read the whole poem with your family, especially today, of all days, as we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thank you once again for all we have done together, and I know our work will continue.