SPI Names Mary Nicely as New CDE Chief Deputy

California Department of Education
News Release

California Department of Education
News Release



Release: #21-65

September 9, 2021

SACRAMENTO—The State Board of Education (SBE) today approved the nomination by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond for Mary Nicely to be Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education (CDE). Nicely previously served as Deputy Superintendent for the Information and Technology Branch and Senior Advisor to Thurmond, where she led the Superintendent’s Initiatives Office and focused on recruitment and retention of teachers of color, community schools, and educator housing and public/private partnerships with philanthropy and industry.

“Mary is recognized as a compassionate, multi-tasking, critical thinking leader with an incredible track record of success in solving complex education and community issues,” Thurmond said. “She will play a critical role in leading efforts to help schools that are struggling with COVID and quarantine-related issues, and will welcome input from school leaders and partners who wish to share problem-solving ideas related to providing safe in-person instruction for California’s six million students.”

Among many notable accomplishments, Nicely supported Thurmond’s Digital Divide Taskforce, working with internal and external stakeholders, technology companies and major internet service providers throughout the state to close technology gaps impacting students and educators. As part of her current duties, Chief Deputy Nicely will oversee the full expansion and implementation of the newly formed Equity Branch and other changes within the Department.

Before joining the CDE, Nicely served as Chief of Staff and District Director to then-Assembly Member Thurmond, representing California’s 15th Assembly District. Prior to her legislative career, she was President and CEO of Nicely Done Solutions, Inc. a custom database development company headquartered in Berkeley, California founded in 1994. She also served as the Western US K–12 Service and Support Manager for seven of her 13 years at Apple. Nicely is a first generation Burmese American and holds a bachelor’s degree in political economy of industrial societies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a business administration degree from Monterey Peninsula Community College in Monterey.

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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100



Last Reviewed: Thursday, September 9, 2021

Janelle B. Smith

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