Director, Special Education, California Department of Education

Kristin Wright

Kristin Wright is the California State Director of Special Education, a role she was appointed to on September 1, 2016. Kristin brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to this leadership position as a policy expert, advocate, and mother of a child with significant physical and intellectual disabilities.

After earning a bachelor's degree in sociology from California State University, Sacramento, she later returned to higher education to earn an Education Specialist (Mod/Severe) teaching credential and master’s degree in Special Education. She has spent more than a decade working in education policy and programs with a focus on special education and improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

In December 2014, Kristin served on the staff of the California State Board of Education as an Education Policy Consultant and liaison between the State Board of Education and the California Advisory Commission on Special Education and was responsible for a variety of content areas, including issues related to special education, foster youth and homeless youth. In 2013 and 2014, she worked as an Education Programs Consultant within the CDE's Special Education Division, serving as a liaison to the Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) and consulting on program and policy matters related to California's Common Core State Standards and accessibility for students with disabilities.

Kristin initially entered the special education policy landscape with her appointment by the California State Senate to the Advisory Commission where she served from 2006 to 2013 and served from 2009 to 2013 in the role of elected Commission Chair. Prior to her work at the CDE, Wright worked as a consultant on research and policy projects for organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Educational Results Partnership.

She has served on numerous national, state and local boards, commissions and workgroups and currently serves on the board of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools and the UC Davis College of Education Dean’s Advisory. Kristin and her husband Charles live in Sacramento with their three children, Ace, Shelby, and Violet.