Matthew Wilkins began his career as an educator with the Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento. During his tenure with the District, Matthew served as a classroom teacher, an instructional coach, and a program specialist supporting district-wide academic programs. While employed with the District, Matthew remained dedicated to his community, and in 2012, he became a licensed foster care parent with the goal of providing a nurturing environment to the foster children who have been placed in his care. His strong desire to maintain each child’s connection to their community and culture, along with his passion to advocate for the children in his care have provided him with the parent’s perspective navigating specialized healthcare systems, social services, regional center services, recreational activities, and special education – all of which are essential to the child’s success.
His dedication to the field of education led Matthew to seek a State-level position in the Special Education Division of the California Department of Education. In this capacity he was responsible for monitoring local educational agencies throughout the state of California and providing technical assistance and support. His assignments routinely required collaboration with stakeholders to review data and identify opportunities for growth which improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities.
In 2021, Matthew began serving in his current position as the Superintendent and Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Director for the California Department of Developmental Services where he oversees special education; adult education; career technical education, and integrated education and training programs for individuals residing in state residential facilities operated by the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of State Hospitals. Matthew’s expertise and experience allows him to establish and maintain productive relationships between state operated facilities and local educational agencies ensuring educational opportunities are provided in the least restrictive environment and in a community setting when appropriate. In this role, Matthew was recognized for his exceptional contribution to state government and was awarded a State of California Superior Accomplishment Award in 2023.
In addition to his work with the California Department of Developmental Services, the California State Board of Education appointed Matthew to serve as a Commissioner on the Advisory Commission for Special Education in 2023. The Commission provides recommendations and advice to the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Legislature, and the Governor in new or continuing areas of research, program development and evaluation in California special education.
Matthew is the parent of two children attending Lighthouse Charter School and joined the River Charter Schools governing Board in 2023. Public service and advocacy are a cornerstone in Matthew’s life. He connects with families sharing common experiences and participates on multiple commissions, boards, committees, and workgroups to further equitable opportunities for all Californians.