Leonor Ehling will take over as executive director of the Center for California Studies on March 26. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Leonor Ehling, who spent more than 20 years as a public servant in both houses of the state Legislature, has been named executive director of Sacramento State's prestigious Center for California Studies.

Her start date is Monday, March 26. Ehling replaces the retired Steve Boilard, who led the Center for California Studies (CCS) since August 2012.

“Leonor’s extensive experience in the State Legislature and strong relationships with Sacramento State’s partners in the state Capitol make her a great asset for the Center for California Studies and its signature Capital Fellows Programs,” says Phil Garcia, the University’s vice president for Public Affairs and Advocacy.

Ehling says she is honored to have been selected to succeed Boilard.  “I am honored and excited to serve as the next executive director of the Center for California Studies. I look forward to building upon the legacy of my predecessors, who built such prestigious, vital and quality programs,” Ehling says. 

Ehling worked in the Senate Office of Research for nine years, serving as its director for more than half of that time. As director, she oversaw 12 consultants who developed policy issues, and supervised production of reports and analyses requested by the state Senate. Before becoming the director, Ehling managed the education and workforce unit as principal consultant, providing oversight on key Senate issues, including education finance, budget and fiscal analyses, and early-childhood development.

She more recently was deputy director of the Senate Rules Committee’s appointments unit, reviewing gubernatorial appointees subject to Senate confirmation. Ehling also worked as the Senate’s liaison to the California Council on Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program, which places Ph.D-level scientists in one-year appointments as Legislative staff members.

Earlier in her career, Ehling was principal consultant on K-12 education issues for the Assembly Budget Committee, the legislative director in the office of the Assembly majority leader, and consultant to the chair of the Assembly Education Committee. She also served as a fiscal and policy analyst in the Legislative Analyst’s office.

Ehling earned her bachelor of arts degree in political economy from UC Berkeley and her master’s in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University. She is fluent in Spanish.

The Center for California Studies, founded in 1982, is best known as the administrator of the nationally acclaimed Capital Fellows Programs. Each year, 64 college graduates from around the nation are selected for full-time, paid positions in some of the highest levels of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of California government. The fellowships last for up to 11 months.

Fellows work on a broad range of public policy issues and projects and are directly involved in the policymaking process. The experience leaves them prepared for careers in government and public service. Many are offered jobs in California state government when their fellowship ends. – Dixie Reid