Campus: CSU Long Beach -- April 22, 2005
Cal State Long Beach Administrator Named to P-16 Council by
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell
Kim Oanh Nguyen-Lam, interim executive director of the Center for Language
Minority Education and Research at Cal State Long Beach, has been appointed to
the newly established California P-16 Council by State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Jack O'Connell.
The council has been charged with the development of strategies to better coordinate,
integrate and improve education for California students from preschool through
Nguyen-Lam, who is also a member of the school board for the Garden Grove Unified
School District, was one of 44 appointees announced by the State Superintendent on
Monday (April 11). Dr. Barry Munitz, president and chief executive officer of
The J. Paul Getty Trust and former chancellor of the California State University
(CSU) system, was named chair of the council.
"I was very surprised when I received the direct call from State Superintendent
O'Connell informing me of the appointment to serve on the P-16 Council," Nguyen-Lam
recalled. "I knew that I was nominated by a number of people a while ago, but
since I had not heard from anyone, I didn't think I was selected. So the news came
as a big surprise and I feel very honored."
O'Connell first announced the establishment of the P-16 Council last December.
The council has been charged with examining ways to: (1) improve student achievement
at all levels and eliminate the achievement gap; (2) link all education levels,
from preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and through higher education, to
create a comprehensive, seamless system of student learning; (3) ensure all students
have access to caring and qualified teachers; and (4) increase public awareness
of the link between an educated citizenry and a healthy economy.
"Different segments of California's education system have been working in isolation
for too long," O'Connell said. "We can better help our students meet the challenge
of high standards and high expectations if the entire system is better coordinated.
I have asked this impressive group of education leaders and experts to find ways
to break down traditional barriers and work toward building a seamless education
system that better serves all California students."
The members of the council represent a wide range of experts throughout California,
including teachers, administrators, parents, business leaders, students and
academics. In addition, several of the statewide council members serve on regional
councils as well.
Nguyen-Lam also brings a diverse background and experience with her to the council,
and she notes that the timing of her appointment has significance to her.
"(The appointment) came at the most poignant time for me as our Vietnamese American
communities in Orange County and across the nation are preparing to commemorate our
30th anniversary of the Vietnamese refugee experience at the end of this month,"
she stated. "Thirty years ago, I was a non-English speaking high school student,
struggling to survive in a 'newcomer' class, not understanding one word of English.
Thirty years later, not only was I elected to the Board of Trustees of the fifth
largest urban school district in the state, I also have been appointed to serve
on a state education advisory council!
"I believe that my unique personal and professional experience will allow me to
contribute positively to the council. Prior to joining Cal State Long Beach, I
had taught preschool to high school in local school districts for 13 years. I am
also a parent of a high school student and a college student, so I share the
concerns of all parents, ' Nguyen-Lam said. "I will be an advocate for all students,
especially those from minority ethnic and language backgrounds.
The P-16 Council will first convene May 17 and immediately tackle such issues as
O'Connell's call to add rigor and relevance to our state's high schools and better
prepare students for careers or college. The council will also work closely with
the Governor's Advisory Committee on Education Excellence to ensure all segments
of California government are working toward building educational excellence.