12:30 PM

Alumnus Participates in White House Cybersecurity Summit

By Zoee Simmons

Cal State San Marcos alumnus Terry Loftus, the chief information officer for the San Diego County Office of Education, visited the White House earlier this month to speak at the “Back to School Safely: Cybersecurity Summit for K-12 Schools.”

In preparation for returning to school this fall, Loftus joined U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, First Lady Jill Biden and school administrators, educators and representatives of private-sector companies to discuss the next steps for strengthening schools’ cybersecurity across the nation.

A respected information technology leader and expert in K-12 cybersecurity, Loftus was recognized as an “individual who demonstrates outstanding influence across organizational boundaries” when he received the California State Information Security Leader of the Year Award in 2021. Under Loftus’ guidance, SDCOE has been a leader locally as well as across the state and nation for fortifying cybersecurity resilience in the K-12 education community.

“We know that our nation's K-12 system makes high-quality education accessible to all and is an institution that is key to the future prosperity of United States,” Loftus said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our K-12 sector is deeply under-resourced and outmatched when it comes to evolving and increasing cybersecurity threats. A ‘better together’ strategy is critical moving forward. K-12 school districts, charter schools, county offices and state-level agencies must continue to innovate and evolve best practices while concurrently building more robust and purposeful partnerships between K-12 entities, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and other state and federal partners.”

In the East Room of the White House, Loftus and fellow information technology leaders discussed the best practices to manage the risks of cybersecurity and protect students and schools.

At the summit, leaders announced several actions planned by the USDOE and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to strengthen the cybersecurity of the nation’s K-12 school systems. Loftus recognized the importance of facilitating ongoing collaboration between the different levels of government and the education sector in preventing security threats.

Media Contact

Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
ebreier@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7314