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CalSTRS announces Kelly Criss as new head of investment operations

Criss joined CalSTRS in 2013 and has served as interim director of investment operations for the past year

News release | Rebecca Forée

Photo of Kelly Criss
Kelly Criss

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (November 10, 2021) – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the world’s largest educator-only pension fund, today announced the promotion of Kelly Criss as head of investment operations. He replaces April Wilcox, who became CalSTRS’ director of investment services in October 2021. Criss’s first day as the head of investment operations was November 2, 2021.

In his new role, Criss is managing the investment operations team, which includes protecting the CalSTRS pension fund from operational and custodial risk and providing expertise to support the investment policy and management plan and other asset class and investment strategy policies. In addition, he is managing the global master custodian relationship and ensuring effective middle-office trade services for a $312.2 billion global institutional investment portfolio.

“Kelly has extensive knowledge of investment operations and more than 16 years of experience in the industry,” said Wilcox. “I am confident he will continue to provide exceptional leadership, oversight of trade management services, and added protection of CalSTRS’ Investment Portfolio’s assets.”

Criss joined CalSTRS in 2013 as an investment officer III and was promoted to associate portfolio manager, where he oversaw the data integrity and reconciliation team in investment operations while providing oversight of operational and custodial risk throughout the Investments Branch. He also made recommendations to the director on business planning, resources and training for investment operations and managed asset transfers, cash flows and projections. In 2020, he started serving as the interim director of investment operations.

“I am truly honored to be selected for this role and I am proud to have the opportunity to lead such an amazing, hardworking team,” said Criss. “I believe in CalSTRS’ mission and am committed to ensuring our members enjoy the secure financial future they deserve.”

Prior to CalSTRS, Criss was an assistant vice president at State Street Bank for eight years. He also has 20 years of experience working as a volunteer firefighter.

Criss is a native of Yuba City. He has a bachelor of science degree in finance from California State University, Sacramento, and he’s a graduate of the 18-month ASPIRE Leadership Program. Criss was awarded the Investment Foundations Certificate by the CFA Institute.

Media contact

Rebecca Forée
Phone: 916-414-1440
M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. PDT

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 $312.2 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2021. CalSTRS demonstrates its strong commitment to long-term corporate sustainability principles in its annual Sustainability Report. For more information, visit