CalSTRS names new CAO

Bonds

Melissa Norcia was appointed the chief administrative officer for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System on Tuesday.

Norcia starts September 15 and replaces Lisa Blatnick, who became CalSTRS chief operating officer in August.

CalSTRS was established by law in 1913 to provide retirement benefits to California’s public school educators from prekindergarten through community college. Today, CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world, and the second largest pension fund in the U.S., according to the fund.

The market value of the CalSTRS investment portfolio was about $310.9 billion as of July 31. CalSTRS had 976,000 members and beneficiaries and was 67.1% funded as of June 30, 2021, according to a spokesman.

Melissa Norcia

CalSTRS

Norcia will lead human resources, procurement, facilities management, business continuity and sustainability. She will also partner with the chief operating officer and other executives in overseeing multiple mission-critical projects, such as the expansion of the headquarters office in West Sacramento and management of internal resources that support an investment strategy known as the CalSTRS Collaborative Model, which the pension fund said brings more assets internally to reduce costs.

“Melissa has been a proven leader with an unwavering commitment to CalSTRS in her role as the director of Human Resources and she will bring the same level of leadership, skill and passion to this new role,” Blatnick said in a statement.

Norcia joined CalSTRS in 2009 as the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and was promoted to various leadership roles before being appointed as director of Human Resources in 2015.

As director, Norcia led the human resources division and executed CalSTRS’ strategic workforce goals and objectives. She has also served as staff support to the Teachers’ Retirement Board Compensation Committee. Her leadership experience includes growing and managing various human resources programs, including EEO, talent management, payroll and benefits, workforce development and planning, executive compensation, diversity and inclusion, organizational development and operations.

“I am honored to join CalSTRS’ executive team and to continue supporting the Teachers’ Retirement Board in delivering our promise of a secure retirement for our educators,” Norcia said in a statement. “I really appreciate CalSTRS’ culture of learning and how we recognize employee engagement. I’m looking forward to leading the Administrative Services Branch and maintaining the partnerships that our COO Lisa Blatnick has worked so hard to develop over the years.”

Norcia is a native of Sacramento and holds certificates in labor-management relations and human resources development and management from the University of California, Davis.

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