Meet NASDCTEc Vice President Patrick Ainsworth

In order for our members to know the individuals who serve them at the national level, NASDCTEc is presenting a blog series called “Meet Your Board Members”; today we are featuring Vice President Patrick Ainsworth, who hails from California.

Patrick AinsworthDr. Patrick Ainsworth joined the California Department of Education (CDE) in November 1996. Currently, he serves as Assistant Superintendent of the Secondary, Postsecondary, and Career Education Division. He oversees secondary education, including middle and high school education, college preparation programs, postsecondary relations, adult education, career technical education, and workforce preparation programs. A few examples of responsibilities include middle and high school reform, smaller learning communities, Partnership Academies, Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, gender equity compliance, business and industry partnerships, and oversight of state and federal programs totaling over $1 billion in annual revenues. Patrick also works at the federal level designated as the State Director of Career Technical Education and State Director of Adult Education.

Prior to joining the CDE, Patrick worked for the Riverside County Office of Education, where he served as the Administrator of a countywide consortium consisting of nineteen school districts devoted to educating and career training for disadvantaged and at-risk high school aged youth. He also served as Principal-Coordinator, Instructional Specialist, and Counselor while at the county office. Patrick began his career in education as a substitute teacher, transitioned into teaching of severely handicapped youth and adults, and served as a high school counselor for nine years at Lake Elsinore and La Sierra High Schools.

Dr. Ainsworth earned his Doctorate in Educational Management and Leadership from University of La Verne (July 2000). His dissertation was titled, Policy Alternatives for Increasing the Number of California’s Graduating High School Students Having the Essential Employability Skills Necessary to Compete in the New Economy. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science (1975), Master’s Degree in Education-Counseling (1977) at California State University San Bernardino, and holds credentials in Pupil Personnel Services and Professional Administrative Services.

Among Patrick’s accomplishments:

  • Patrick led the development of the recently released report titled Multiple Pathways to Student Success: Envisioning the New California High School (2010), which calls for substantial system-wide policy changes to transform California’s high schools to increase student outcomes.
  • He supervised the development of the award winning high school reform book titled, Aiming High, High Schools for the 21st Century (May 2002), which is in wide use throughout California and the nation.
  • He led the development of the state board approved Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards publication (May 2005) and the CTE Framework (January 2007).
  • His division released the on-line document for middle schools, Taking Center Stage Act II (April 2008).
  • He co-authored the February 2000 report, California Workforce Development: A Policy Framework for Economic Growth.
  • He was also the principal author for the California Department of Education’s widely cited policy document, Workforce Investment Act, Policy Issues and Options for Education (January 1999).

Like other NASDCTEc Board members, Patrick’s professional involvement reaches beyond the CTE sphere, including his role as the Superintendent’s Designee on the California Workforce Investment Board, Joint Boards Advisory Committee, Community College Economic Development Policy Advisory Council, and numerous other key groups. He serves as Co-President of the California Career Resource Network, and is the Vice President to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium. For five years he has been a member of the California State University San Bernardino School of Education Dean’s Advisory Committee. He has also served as President of the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, Chair of the ACSA Region 3 Secondary Education Council, and on the Board of LEED Sacramento, Linking Education and Economic Development. During 1995, Dr. Ainsworth was President of the American Lung Association (ALA) of the Inland Counties and participated in developing the ALA Strategic Plans at the State and National levels. He has also served on the Board of Directors for both the San Bernardino YMCA and the Tri-Valley YMCA.

In addition to these experiences, Patrick has worked for the YMCA, was a musician and recording engineer, and for seven years hosted a weekly television show for the King Video Cable System. Pat is married to his wonderful wife and partner of 35 years, Karen. They have three fabulous children – Amanda and twins Randy and Ryan. In his spare time Pat enjoys gardening, woodworking, snow skiing, water sports, and fishing.

Patrick indicated his primary goals as a NASDCTEc Board member is “to strengthen CTE as Perkins and ESEA are reauthorized and to increase funding to expand CTE opportunities for all students.”

We thank Dr. Ainsworth for providing personal insight and sharing his goals for our organization. He can be reached at


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