SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

Jessica Lynne Holmes, 39, of Roseville, has been appointed Chief Deputy Executive Director at the State Board of Education. Holmes has been Assistant Program Budget Manager at the California Department of Finance since 2018 and served as a Principal Program Budget Analyst and Finance Budget Analyst there from 2013 to 2018. She was a Math Teacher at Futures High School from 2007 to 2013. Holmes was Staff Services Analyst at the California Health and Human Services Agency from 2006 to 2007. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $194,004. Holmes is registered without party preference.

Lande Ajose, 55, of Oakland, has been appointed to the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Governing Board. Ajose has been Vice President and Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California since 2021. She was Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education in the Office of the Governor Gavin Newsom from 2019 to 2021, where she chaired the Governor’s Council for Postsecondary Education. She worked at California Competes from 2011 to 2019, serving as Executive Director there from 2015 to 2019. She was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission from 2015 to 2019, where she spent two years as Chair. Ajose was Managing Director at Informing Change from 2006 to 2011, Research Associate at MDRC from 2005 to 2007 and a Program Officer at the James Irvine Foundation from 2001 to 2005. Ajose earned a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban and Regional Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Ajose is a Democrat.

Catalina Cifuentes, 44, of Riverside, has been appointed to the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Governing Board. Cifuentes has been Executive Director at the Riverside County Office of Education since 2014. Cifuentes was a School Counselor and Teacher for the Corona Norco Unified School District from 2002 to 2014. She was a Teacher at Sierra Middle School from 1999 to 2002. Cifuentes is Chair of the California Student Aid Commission. Cifuentes earned a Master of Arts degree in Educational Counseling from Azusa Pacific University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Cifuentes is a Democrat.

Gavin Payne, 61, of San Luis Obispo, has been appointed to the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Governing Board. Payne has been Principal at GPC Advisors LLC. since 2016. He was Director of United States Policy, Advocacy and Communications at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2013 to 2016. Payne was Chief Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Department of Education from 2003 to 2010. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Payne is a Democrat.

Robert Tagorda, 44, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Governing Board. Tagorda has been Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Revival Strategy Consulting since 2021. He held several positions at Long Beach Unified School District from 2006 to 2021, including Executive Director of Equity, Access and College & Career Readiness, Program Administrator in the Office of the Superintendent and Assistant to the Superintendent. Tagorda held several positions at MAXIMUS from 2000 to 2004, including Manager and Research Consultant. He earned a Master of Public Policy degree with a concentration in Business and Government from the Harvard Kennedy School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Tagorda is registered without party preference.

Caroline Alvarez, 20, of Fresno, has been appointed to the California Student Aid Commission. Alvarez has been Vice President of External Affairs at Fresno State Associated Student Inc. since 2021 and a student at the university since 2019. She was a Statistics Tutor at Fresno City Tutorial Center from 2019 to 2021. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Alvarez is a Democrat.

Leonardo Rodriguez, 20, of Kelseyville, has been appointed to the California Student Aid Commission. Rodriguez has been Student Trustee at Mendocino College since 2021 and a student at the college since 2019. He has been Student Trustee at the California Community Colleges League since 2021. Rodriguez has been a Registered Behavioral Technician at Autism Intervention Professionals since 2019. He was a Cashier at La Monarca from 2018 to 2021 and a Construction Worker Assistant at Bridges Construction Inc. in 2019. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Rodriguez is a Democrat.

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