Tony Thurmond Names Co-Directors for Statewide Literacy Campaign

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond appointed two new co-directors for statewide literacy at the California Department of Education this week. Nancy Brynelson and Bonnie Garcia will offer guidance to school districts on the best practices for literacy education.  

The “science of reading” will be a big part of that guidance, though not mandatory.

“We are not interested in policing pedagogy or orthodoxy,” said Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Zimmer. “We are interested in accelerating and expanding what has been proven to work on the ground. There’s an abundance of evidence that shows the critical importance of building foundational skills in the early years.”

The appointments of Brynelson and Garcia come at a critical time for California’s learners. Data from 2022 show 60% of California’s third graders are not able read at grade level. 

Brynelson most recently served as a special literacy consultant to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She helped write the English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework. She has also served as Co-Director of the Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, as a consultant writer for the National Association of Educational Progress’ 2025 Reading Framework, and as an Education Program Consultant for the California Department of Education.

Garcia most recently served as a Program Specialist and Literacy Specialist at the Desert Mountain Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) where she established a Literacy Improvement Network for 40 school districts. She is an expert in dyslexia and an Associate of the Orton-Gillingham Academy for Practitioners and Educators.

Read more at KQED.