Superintendent earns highest alumni honor

Jill Baker speaks at Distinguished Alumni Awards.
Jill Baker speaks at Distinguished Alumni Awards. Sean DuFrene/Cal State Long Beach


Congratulations to Dr. Jill Baker, superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District, for being recognized as the College of Education Distinguished Alumna.

Baker was honored at an awards ceremony at the Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center April 13.

Baker received her preliminary administrative services credential in 1998 and her master’s degree in educational administration in 1999, both from CSULB. 

The Distinguished Alumni Award, CSULB’s highest alumni honor, is bestowed annually to seven alumni representing their academic college. It recognizes alumni with an exemplary record of success in their field, impactful leadership, enduring service to their community and support for The Beach.

The event program shared this about Baker’s life and work:

Attending CSULB was a turning point in Jill Baker’s career.

While in her third year of teaching, Baker decided to go back to school to earn a master’s degree in education, which not only gave her the tools to move from the classroom to the principal’s office but inspired her to find new ways to teach and lead.

After completing her master’s and administrative credential at CSULB, Baker spent seven years as a principal, where the school saw consecutive years of growth and strong efficacy. Her track record led her to the Long Beach Unified School District office, where she served as a development office administrator, assistant superintendent and chief academic officer before being promoted to deputy superintendent.

Three years ago, Baker was promoted to superintendent, the first woman to hold that job.

“I am proud of building teams in all of the jobs that I have held,” said Baker, who earned her B.A. and teaching credential at UC Irvine and her doctorate at USC. “The building of teams allows others to step into their strengths and to achieve together what might seem impossible to an individual.”

Jill Baker smiles while milling around the crowd at the awards event.
Baker at the awards ceremony

One of the things Baker said she is most proud of is elevating student voices and perspectives while promoting equity throughout her educational career. Her desire to disrupt systems that negatively impact marginalized students has inspired Baker to view education as a civil rights issue.

As a long-time resident of Long Beach, Baker says CSULB continues to hold a special place in her heart. She and her husband, Trevor ’91, and their family routinely attend athletic and arts events and on occasion, they take leisurely strolls on campus.

She has maintained a relationship with the College of Education, served as a guest speaker in the doctoral program and attended special events presented by the college.

“I love having CSULB in our city because it means that our schools are places where future teachers, counselors, social workers, administrators and other educational specialists are learning what it means to work in education,” Baker said. “This creates a symbiotic relationship.”