Linked Learning Alliance Announces Leadership Transition President Christopher Cabaldon Steps Down following Seven Years of Executive Leadership; Hilary McLean Named Interim President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2017

Nancy Xiong, Strategic Communications Specialist | E: nancy@linkedlearning.org

Linked Learning Alliance Announces Leadership Transition
President Christopher Cabaldon Steps Down following Seven Years of Executive Leadership; Hilary McLean Named Interim President

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Linked Learning Alliance announced today that Christopher Cabaldon, who has led the Alliance during a seven-year period of exceptional growth in the Linked Learning movement and organizational advancement of the Linked Learning Alliance, has stepped down from the position of Alliance president. Cabaldon had announced his intention to step down as Alliance president last spring.

“It has been an honor to partner with so many colleagues in schools, postsecondary institutions, industry, government, and community organizations who are dedicated to helping students prepare for successful futures, and recognize Linked Learning as an effective strategy,” said Christopher Cabaldon, President of the Linked Learning Alliance. “I was compelled to be involved with this work because of the evidence that Linked Learning makes a real difference in students’ lives – by increasing equity, by improving college and career readiness, and by empowering students to be able to choose from a full range of opportunity after high school. Working to advance this mission has been incredibly fulfilling. While it is the right time for me to step down as president, I remain dedicated to the Linked Learning Alliance’s mission to ensure that all students are well prepared for college, career, and life.”

In 2010, Cabaldon was named executive director of the Linked Learning Alliance; and Capitol Impact, a consulting firm dedicated to improving public education policy where Cabaldon is a principal, was hired to provide association management and staff support for the Alliance. Cabaldon led the Alliance as the organization transitioned from an informal coalition to an official non-profit organization with a governance system led by an elected Board of Directors. Cabaldon was named President of the Alliance in 2015.

Under his leadership, the Alliance developed systems to incentivize and support high quality Linked Learning, and led advocacy efforts to increase funding and expand policies that advance college and career pathways. This led to an exponential increase in the number of Linked Learning pathways in California and beyond. This timeline summarizes key milestones that have significantly advanced the Linked Learning field as a result of the Linked Learning Alliance’s coordination and leadership since 2010.

The Alliance Board of Directors has named Hilary McLean interim president while conducting an executive search to identify Cabaldon’s permanent successor. Cabaldon will serve as a consultant to the Linked Learning Alliance during the leadership transition.

“Christopher’s passion for opening pathways of opportunity for youth, his strategic approach to leadership, and policy acumen helped ensure that the Linked Learning Alliance become a key force in education and workforce development,” said David Rattray, Executive Vice President of the Center for Education Excellence and Talent Development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Board of Directors. “Christopher’s stewardship of the Alliance and development of systems has had a transformative impact on the Linked Learning field. Due in large part due to his leadership, thousands of students are now able to benefit from pathways that integrate college and career preparation, internships, and connections built with employers in their community. We are pleased that Hilary McLean has agreed to serve as interim president to sustain this progress.”

McLean was most recently executive vice president for the Alliance, and has provided strategic communications and management support for the Alliance for the past seven years. A partner at Capitol Impact, McLean previously served as communications director for the California Department of Education where her portfolio included Linked Learning on behalf of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell from 2003 – 2010. She was chief deputy press secretary for Governor Gray Davis from 1999 – 2003, and led the earned media efforts on a number of successful political campaigns, including the 1998 election of Bill Lockyer as Attorney General and the defeat of Propositions 200, 201, and 202 in 1996. McLean was a member of the California State Senate Fellows class of 1994-95, and earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University Chico.

“Christopher brilliantly led the Alliance by building systems that expand, incentivize and recognize high quality pathways that keep the promise of equity that is central to our field,” McLean said. “The focus on continuous improvement is core to Linked Learning and key to our field and continuing as a transformative and sustainable movement. The Linked Learning Alliance remains committed to improving equity and expanding high quality pathways that prepare all students for success in college and career. While he will be sorely missed as the executive at the Alliance, Christopher’s creativity, leadership, and commitment to improve the futures of young people will always inspire me and many others in the Linked Learning field.”

The Linked Learning Alliance is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. The Alliance coordinates field governance, policy advocacy, strategic communications, and builds systems that support and advance quality implementation of the Linked Learning approach. It was launched several years after The James Irvine Foundation assembled a coalition of educators, industry, and community leaders to reimagine how to make high school more rigorous, relevant, and responsive to the needs to students and employers. The establishment of the Alliance also followed the founding of ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career, which is an anchor organization supporting high quality Linked Learning practice and was the coordination of the Linked Learning District Initiative from 2008 – 2016.

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About Linked Learning Alliance
The Linked Learning Alliance is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance aims to build a collective voice and coordinate efforts to expand access to Linked Learning in California-an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning opportunities in fields of engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more. | www.linkedlearning.org