CALIFORNIA POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION COMMISSION
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Executive Director Biography
Karen Humphrey, Executive Director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission, has had a
varied 43-year career in communications, public service, and education. Most recently, she has served
as Administrator of the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) Program for the Commission. In February of 2009,
the Commission appointed her as Executive Director.
Humphrey began her professional life as a television news reporter and anchor on local stations in Eureka
and Fresno-the first woman reporter on the air in both markets. After leaving television in 1979, she was
elected to the Fresno City Council, where she served two terms. In 1989, she was elected Fresno's first
woman Mayor and served in that position until 1993. She joined the California Department of Education
in 1996, serving first as Senior Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, then
as a consultant and manager for programs on workforce development and gender equity.
Humphrey joined the Commission-the state's independent policy advisory body for all higher education-in 2004
to administer the ITQ grant program. In that role, she awarded eight million dollars annually in federal grants
to colleges and universities for teacher professional development under the No Child Left Behind Act.
She also worked on postsecondary policy related to workforce development and equity and gender issues.
Humphrey has a Bachelor's degree in Humanities from the University of Southern California, and a Master's
Degree in Public Policy and Women's Studies from California State University, Sacramento. She and her
husband, Ken Clarke, live in Sacramento.