Former State Secretary of Education to Discuss Future of Education in California

Mar. 29, 2011 By Jenna Bartlo

California educators face trials related to budget cuts and changes made in the education system every day — most that teachers have no control over. Former Secretary of Education for the State of California, Glen Thomas, will address the current realities and challenges within the education system as well as strategies for improvement and what is good in the state of California educationally on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at Biola University’s Education Symposium.

Thomas, a Biola alumnus, will be joined by Al Mijares, Vice President, Western Region and The College Board, Ruth Perez, Superintendent of Norwalk La Mirada School District, and Joe Gillentine, Superintendent of East Whittier City School District. The panel, with Thomas, will discuss current legislation and its effect on K-12 and teacher education, future legislation that every educator should be aware of, the current economic climate and its effect on K-12 education, and the role of Christian educators in promoting ethical practices in the public arena.

Educators and those in the front lines of education will come together to discuss the future of education in California. The general public is welcome to attend the event held in Mayers Auditorium on Biola’s campus from 7-9 p.m.

Keynote and Panel Bios


Dr. Glen Thomas. Former Secretary of Education, State of California.

Spending the last two years as the Secretary of Education for the State of California under Governor Schwarzenegger, Dr. Thomas has served the field of education in a variety of roles over the last 40 years. An alumnus of Biola University, Dr. Thomas has also served as a consultant to several philanthropic foundations and educational organizations including the Khosla Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation, as well as the California State Parent Teachers Association and the Association of California School Administrators. Dr. Thomas, and his wife Connie, have two adult daughters.


Dr. Al Mijares, Western Region Vice President of The College Board.

Dr. Mijares provides leadership with a focus on regional and state education initiatives for The College Board. For eight years before that, he previously led the Santa Ana (CA) Unified School District, an urban school district of 53,000 students and 4,000 professional staff members located in Santa Ana, California. He earned his doctorate at the University of Southern California. Dr. Mijares is a Biola board member. He and his wife, Jackie, live in Tustin and have five sons, Wes, Aaron, Joel, Matt, and Luke.


Dr. Ruth Perez, Superintendent, Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District.

Dr. Perez has been the superintendent of Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District for the last two years. Prior to her post at NLMUSD, she was the chief academic officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina and an area superintendent for Orange County Public Schools (Orlando, FL). She earned her doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Perez partners with Biola University’s Teacher Education. She and her husband, Al, live in La Habra Heights. Together they have three children and three grandchildren in Canada and Florida.


Dr. Joe Gillentine, Superintendent, East Whittier City Schools.

Dr. Gillentine has been the superintendent of the East Whittier City School District for the last five years. Prior to this post at EWCSD, he was Superintendent in the Lowell Join School District, the Executive Director of the North Orange County Special Education Local Plan Area, and the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Bonita Unified School District. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fr. Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Gillentine partners with Biola University’s Teacher Education and in supporting the outstanding Teacher Preparation program that the University provides. Dr. Gillentine has been married for 42 years to his best friend, Barbara, and they have 3 married children and 11 grandchildren.

For more than 100 years, Biola University has been equipping Christian men and women to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ through biblically-centered education. The School of Education, established in 2007, exists to train up those who desire to make an impact as educators in classrooms, administration buildings, homeschools, the mission field and beyond. Our education faculty serve a diverse student body, consisting of more than 285 undergraduate students and 160 graduate students, offering a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, five levels of early childhood permits, a fully-online institution-sponsored special education certificate, a master of arts degree in teaching (M.A.T.) and a master of arts degree in education (M.A.Ed.), which can be tailored to meet the individual interests of new and experienced teachers alike. Our state-accredited Teacher Preparation Program offers teaching credentials at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Mission: School of Education

The mission of the School of Education is “to equip Christian educators to impact public, private, mission and home schools through biblically centered education, scholarship and service.”

Vision: School of Education

Our vision is “to equip a generation of influential educators, focused on God's calling, devoting their strengths, gifts and scholarship, to meet the needs of diverse students and to advance the Kingdom of God.”

Press Contact

Media Relations
Biola University
(562) 777-4061


Post a Comment

Your email will not be published as part of your comment.

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639