County Superintendent of Schools

Karen Sakata, County Superintendent of Schools

Karen Sakata, County Superintendent of Schools

The County Superintendent of Schools is elected by the voters of Contra Costa County, and is the Chief Executive Officer of the Contra Costa County Office of Education. She administers all County Office of Education programs and facilitates cooperation among schools, colleges, universities, government and community organizations. She is responsible for monitoring and approving all school district budgets. In addition, she serves as an advocate for education with the legislature and the public. She is responsible for all hiring and human resource decisions at the CCCOE.


 Karen Sakata, County Superintendent of Schools, Contra Costa County has worked in education for the past 42 years. Her career has spanned 16 years in general education and 26 years in special education. She has worked as a Speech Language Pathologist, Resource Specialist-Auditory Processing, Early Childhood Specialist, Program Specialist, Research Assistant, Program Administrator, Elementary Principal, Associate Superintendent, and Deputy Superintendent for three County Offices and one large urban school district.  

Karen believes the goal of public education is to find and build upon the strengths of every student, and to find ways to support every child's individual learning goal. 

Karen has been actively involved in the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and has been President, Vice President-Programs, Vice President-Legislative and ACSA State Board representative for ACSA Region 6, which represents Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Karen was the ACSA Region 6 Central Office Administrator of the Year (AOY) 2014. She is on the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) Finance Committee. She was elected in June 2014 as County Superintendent of Schools. She is the first woman County Superintendent in Contra Costa County and the first Asian County Superintendent in California. She is on the ACSA State Board of Directors.

Karen received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley in Psychology and her MA from San Jose State University in Speech Pathology.  She holds credentials including Restricted Speech and Hearing with Special Class Authorization, Resource Specialist Certificate, and Administrative Services.  She is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and has a Certificate of Clinical Competences (CCC)-Speech Pathology from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA).

Karen is a third generation Japanese-American, Sansei.  Her parents, graduates of UC Berkeley and USC were interned during World War II in concentration camps in Topaz, Utah and Poston, Arizona.  Karen was born and raised in San Francisco and currently resides in Alamo, California with her husband, Shima.  Karen and Shima have been happily married for 36 years.  She has two sons: Scott who is holds a graduate degree in Optometry and is practicing in San Francisco and Antioch, and Kurt who graduated in animal sciences from UC Davis and manages a veterinary hospital. Both sons were graduates of Monte Vista High in Danville, CA.  Karen’s hobbies include coaching basketball and playing taiko, Japanese big drums. 


TITLE NAME (click to email) PHONE
County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata (925) 942-3433
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Renai Lovely (925) 942-3433
Executive Assistant to the Board and Superintendent Loreen Joseph (925) 942-3380
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.