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CalSTRS announces Cervantes-Dietz as new chief auditor

News release | Thomas Lawrence

Photo of Cheryl Cervantes-Dietz
Cheryl Cervantes-Dietz

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 15, 2022) – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is pleased to announce the promotion of Cheryl Cervantes-Dietz as chief auditor.

She replaces Larry Jensen, who became CalSTRS’ chief auditor in 2014 and will retire in July 2022.

As chief auditor, Cervantes-Dietz will direct internal audits of CalSTRS’ operations and external risk assessments and audits of more than 1,700 employers. She will report to the Teachers’ Retirement Board’s Audits and Risk Management Committee and CalSTRS’ chief operating officer.

“Cheryl brings a great spirit and collaborative leadership style to her new role, as well as more than 25 years of experience working in public pension auditing,” said CalSTRS Chief Operating Officer Lisa Blatnick. “Her accountability, focus on transparency, and familiarity with what her new position entails will be instrumental in growing and protecting the Teachers’ Retirement Fund.”

Cervantes-Dietz joined CalSTRS as assistant director of internal audits in November 2016, in which she successfully planned, organized and oversaw the program. In January 2020, she was promoted to director of enterprise compliance services and focused on establishing strategies and plans to ensure organizational compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies and standards, among other crucial tasks.

“I appreciate the opportunity to lead such a diverse and capable audit team and to provide assurance for CalSTRS’ risk management, controls and governance processes,” Cervantes-Dietz said. “I’m looking forward to being innovative in our efforts to help secure the financial future of California’s public educators. Larry Jensen did a tremendous job establishing trust and collaboration with our internal and external stakeholders, and I’m committed to maintaining and building on those relationships.”

Prior to CalSTRS, Cervantes-Dietz served with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System from 1995 to 2016, ultimately becoming assistant division chief for the office of audit services. Her first day as chief auditor is June 15, 2022.

Cervantes-Dietz is a certified public accountant and is pursuing certification for internal auditing. She is also involved with the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Association of Public Pension Fund Auditors, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, from California State University, Stanislaus.

About CalSTRS

CalSTRS provides a secure retirement to more than 980,000 members and beneficiaries whose CalSTRS-covered service is not eligible for Social Security participation. On average, members who retired in 2020–21 had 25 years of service and a monthly benefit of $4,813. Established in 1913, CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world with $314.8 billion in assets under management as of May 31, 2022. CalSTRS demonstrates its strong commitment to long-term corporate sustainability principles in its annual Sustainability Report. For more information, visit CalSTRS.com.