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San Diego State University

SDSU Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies in Language & Cross-Cultural Education)


Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Ph.D.

Dr. Karen Cadiero-Kaplan is a Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University and past Chair of the Dual Language and English Learner Education Department. She also served as faculty in the Joint PhD program with Claremont Graduate University. Currently she is working as a professional development consultant with non-profit agencies and K-12 educators in the area of critical literacy, social justice and equity.


Dr. Cadiero-Kaplan began her career as a special education teacher and teaching English as a Second Language at the high school and community college levels. She has continued her career as a professor and a provider of pre-service and in-service teacher professional development in English language acquisition for students to teachers and administrators.


From 2012-2014, she was a visiting educator to the California Department of Education where she was the first to lead the English Learner Support Division. Between 2012 and 2014, Dr. Cadiero-Kaplan directed all policy and programs for English Learners and Migrant Education for the state. Her leadership included representing California at a national level by participating and presenting on research and policy in meetings convened by the US Department of Education Title III, Office of English Language Acquisition, and Office of Migrant Education, as well as on subcommittees focused on English Learners with The Council of Chief State School Officers. Under her leadership the 2012 ELD Standards were adopted and she played a significant role in informing areas of assessment and curriculum with Common Core Standards.


Dr. Cadiero-Kaplan has a range of publications concerned with the role of literacy education and language policies that impact curriculum development and teacher’s professional development. Most notable, is her book, The Literacy Curriculum & Bilingual Education: A Critical Examination. In addition to peer reviewed research articles and presentations, she has also published policy briefs as part of her leadership as President (2009-2011) of Californians Together; and from 2006-2007 as President of the California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL).


Dr. Cadiero-Kaplan received her doctorate in Education, with an emphasis on Critical Social Justice and Literacy from Claremont Graduate University/San Diego State University joint Doctoral Program. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Multi-Cultural and Cross-Cultural Education with certification in Special Education and Linguistics from San Diego State University. She received her Bachelors of Arts Degree from the University of San Diego, in Psychology and Elementary Education.

Degrees Earned
  •  Ph.D. Education (2001). Claremont /San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program

  • MA Education (1994). San Diego State University

  • BA Psychology (1989). University of San Diego

Professional Licensure and Certifications
  • CA Multiple Subject Teaching Credential/CLAD (1990)

  • CA Specialist Instruction Credential in Special Education (1995)


To view more about Dr. Karen Cadiero-Kaplan's professional experiences, publications, and service feel free to visit her Online Vita.