State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has appointed a new Career and College Transition Division Director at the California Department of Education.
Donna Wyatt began her assignment September 6.
“Donna has devoted her professional career to helping students identify their passions and professional callings and providing those students the skills and direction needed to succeed,” Torlakson said. “She will be a tremendous resource for all of our schools. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her join us in this important role.”
A long-time educator, Wyatt has more than 25 years of experience teaching, developing, and administering Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Since July 2011, she has worked as the manager of Curriculum and Instruction Career Technical Education (CTE) for the Oakland Unified School District’s Linked Learning office, working with teachers to create CTE curriculum and build out career pathway courses that help connect students with internships and mentorships in a wide variety of fields such as engineering, manufacturing, and media arts.
In her role at Oakland Unified, Wyatt developed an externship program to connect pathway teachers with industry partners. After being placed with a variety of local industry hosts, including the FBI San Francisco and Alameda County Public Health, teachers build curriculum based on their externship experiences, effectively integrating core classes and CTE.
Wyatt has also taught at UC Berkeley Extension as an adjunct professor in the CTE Teacher Preparation and Credential program.
Wyatt began her career as a nurse. After taking time off for the birth of her son, she shifted her professional focus to education, joining the Colton Redlands Yucaipa Regional Occupation Program as a health science teacher. In 2000, she co-founded the HEART Academy at Redlands High School, which connects health occupation students with community internships.
A native of Long Beach, Wyatt holds a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from California State University, San Bernardino, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University, East Bay.
In her new role, Wyatt will oversee efforts to support local educational agencies to improve performance in secondary education, adult education, CTE, workforce development, and distance learning programs. She replaces former Career and College Transition Division Director Russell Weikle, who retired in May.
CTE has undergone a renaissance in California with record investments in hands-on learning, internships, and classes to prepare students for 21st century careers. Currently, more than 776,000 students in the state participate in CTE courses. California’s Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program is the largest of its kind in the nation. Established in the 2015-16 state budget, the program will provide $900 million over the next three years to support and develop 21st century career and college readiness programs throughout the state.