Champion of Education
By Katie Sigeti ’06, philanthropy manager, alumni programs
Cindy Cohen Marten's ’84 career in education.
LJCDS alumni who pursue careers in education as teachers, professors, staff members or administrators carry forward the mission of the school—preparing individuals for a lifetime of intellectual exploration, personal growth and social responsibility. They lead lives that influence the next generation to make the world a better place.
Cindy Cohen Marten ’84 embodies this path, rising through the ranks of the public education system in San Diego before being recently named the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education by the Biden administration.
In the beginning of her career, Marten dedicated 10 years working as a teacher and principal at Central Elementary School in City Heights, San Diego, where she created programs that enhanced students’ learning experiences, including a biliteracy program, after-school and preschool programs, a school garden and an integrated arts education.
In 2013, Marten was unanimously elected superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, the second-largest school district in California. During her tenure as superintendent, the district saw the highest graduation rate of the state’s big-city districts. In addition, Marten navigated the district through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting the necessary technology to students and distributing free meals. She held this position for eight years until the Biden administration nominated her to become U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. She was confirmed in May 2021.
In this role, Marten’s primary purview is elementary and secondary education, where she is responsible for the creation and implementation of policies, programs and activities. She oversees work on special education and rehabilitative services, safe and drug-free schools, impoverished students’ education, education of diverse students (both in language and culture) and more.
Marten’s motto, “Work hard. Be kind. Dream big!” reflects the core of the Torrey spirit.