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CCSESA Newsletter2021

DecemberVolume 21 / Issue 7

Meet our CCSESA Superintendents - Featuring New Humboldt County Superintendent, Michael Davies-Hughes

Michael Davies-Hughes

Michael Davies-Hughes Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools

  • What led you to a career in education?

    During my high school years living in Wales, I was an avid outdoorsman. In my junior year, I took an instructors course in sailing and soon realized that I loved the thrill of seeing others learn a new skill.  From that time forward, teaching others has always been a driving force in my life. I also come from a family of educators; my mother was a teacher, as was my brother and mother-in-law.  My father in-law is a retired school administrator, and my wife, Tami, is a school principal.  My three children have had no choice but to experience “teachable moments” from the whole family!

    What does your day to day look like as a county superintendent of schools?

    I have made it a priority as a new county superintendent to visit every department and program of the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE).  So that is an investment of time that I believe will pay huge dividends in building my knowledge and understanding of what we do to serve the students in our community.  Of course, this is also a great way of building relationships with staff.

    What are some aspects that you love about your job as a county superintendent of Humboldt County?

    I love the diversity of experiences of this work.  Right now, I am appreciating the opportunity to view the organization through “rookie eyes.”  This is a great opportunity to see what is working well and where gaps may exist.  At the end of each day, I reflect on what I have learned and what I can do the next day to strengthen the impact of our shared work.  I also love engaging in honest and transparent conversations with staff.  Our organizational values are trust, respect, and collaboration, and it is a joy (and a personal commitment) to try and model these values in every encounter I have.  

    What is a bright spot/exemplary program in your county that would be of interest to others in education?

    We are truly blessed to have so many outstanding educational programs in Humboldt County.  One that I am very proud of is at Glen Paul School. The school is comprised of 19 special day classes for severely handicapped students which are located on the Glen Paul campus and regular education campuses scattered throughout Humboldt County. The programs are designed to meet the special education needs of children and youth from ages 3 to 22. The goal of the Glen Paul School program is to provide students with educational opportunities which allow them to gain maximum independence at home, at school, in the community and in future job placements.  Last Friday, I attended a graduation ceremony for four students at Glen Paul.  Each of the four students gave a short speech, and in their words you could hear the tremendous gratitude and respect they had for their classmates, teachers, support staff and the greater Glen Paul community.  This program is a true gem of the North Coast!


  • What is something fellow county superintendents may not know about you?

    As I mentioned in responding to an earlier question, I grew-up in Wales and first came to the United States as a college exchange student in 1989. Welsh was my first language and I learned English in primary (elementary) school. While taking classes towards earning my teaching credential at Long Beach State, I moonlighted as a gondolier on the canals of Naples in Long Beach.  Instead of serenading patrons in Italian, I sang in Welsh.  I really don’t think most of them noticed the difference!

    What does being a county superintendent mean to you?

    Being a county superintendent is both a great honor and a great opportunity to help build the leadership capacity of our educators.  After twenty years as a school and district administrator, I have learned that effective leadership doesn’t come from positional power; it comes from relational power.  This means that I must work every day to strengthen the relationships I have with those who can effect positive change in students’ lives throughout Humboldt County.  Central to my role as a county superintendent is helping to promote excellence in the quality of educational services to all students, and I can only accomplish this by committing every day to providing leadership and support to the school districts we serve.

    Visit the HCOE Website
    Like HCOE on Facebook
    Follow HCOE on Twitter @humboldtcoe


Meet Our New PASSCo Chair, John Laughlin, from Sonoma County Office of Education

John Laughlin Associate Superintendent Human Resource Services

PASSCo has a new chair this month, with the retirement of Coleen Johnson from Sacramento County Office of Education. We would like to take this time to thank Coleen for her incredible leadership and wish her the best in her retirement. We would also like to give a warm welcome to our new chair, John Laughlin, from Sonoma County Office of Education, and learn a little bit more about him as he takes over this role. 

What does your day to day look like as the chair of the Personnel Administrative Services Steering Committee (PASSCo) and an Associate Superintendent of Human Resource Services for Sonoma COE?

This has been an unprecedented time in the world of education.  I am honored to be part of such a hard-working group of personnel administrators.  We have a very active listserv through which we share experiences, procedures and ideas.  Through our meetings and correspondence, we develop professional relationships and trust.  We call each other quite often with questions and challenges.

As the lead for our Human Resource Services department, no two days are the same.  I am blessed by having an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated staff who understand that our mission is to support our students, employees and district partners.  We have 40 districts in our county and we get many calls each week from them about a variety of topics. County offices play such an integral part in supporting our districts, and we try to be as helpful as we can so that we can all remain student-focused in our respective roles.

What are some of your goals or objectives you would like to achieve within PASSCo in the upcoming year?

As chair and a member of  PASSCO, our goal is to help each other, especially our new members.  I have a goal to highlight the goals of CCSESA as a whole through the work of our committee.  Even something as simple as using the CCSESA logo more often in our presentations to connect our work back to CCSESA, or more complex ideas like increasing awareness of the CCSESA strategic plan and the importance of its implementation. In general, I’d like to promote CCSESA’s profile, influence and assistance for the students of California.

What is a bright spot/exemplary program in your Steering Committee that would be of interest to educators?

Our committee recently hosted a couple of events that were very well attended and were open to all districts in California free of charge.  One of those was a workshop focused on COVID-related leaves and accommodations.  The second major event was planned and executed by our Credentials Network Subcommittee.  They hosted many workshops virtually over several days, each of which were attended by 800-1100 people.  These workshops were also offered free of charge to personnel specialists from county offices, districts, and institutes of higher education.  They were designed to promote understanding of California’s credentialing guidelines and regulations. We are very proud that we were able to offer these professional development opportunities to be responsive to the needs of our colleagues at a time when they have a great need to understand how to continue to navigate challenging circumstances due to the pandemic.

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022!

In the spirit of a new year approaching, we asked the CCSESA team: What are you most looking forward to in 2022?




Ashley Lugo, Executive Assistant & Policy Analyst:

“I’m looking forward to another year of books and reading and discovering new favorites!”



Brianna Bruns, Director, Policy and Advocacy:

“I am excited to meet more of the CCSESA membership, advance our policy priorities, and welcome my son into the world in 2022!”

Derick Lennox, Senior Director Governmental Relations & Legal Affairs:

“More in-person legislative hearings and policy work! (I never thought I’d say it).”


Jessie Mapes, Arts Program Assistant:

“2022 could be the year for the CCSESA Statewide Arts Initiative to host an in-person meeting and/or event, once again!”

Karen Stapf Walters, Executive Director: 

“I am excited to get to work on the implementation phase of the Strategic Plan process, and I am looking forward to building on the great momentum from our work in 2021, to have CCSESA continue to lead in our advocacy efforts through a lens of equity.”



Kindra Britt, Director of Communications and Strategy: 

“To continue to support CCSESA as it advances the goals of the strategic plan, and to learn how to adjust to being a family of four as we welcome our son in January.


Lumi Amarie, Finance & Operations Assistant: 

“For the pandemic to end, so we can travel more with no restrictions.”



Sarah Anderberg, Director, CCSESA Statewide Arts Initiative: 

I am looking forward to connecting with friends and family in 2022.

Tiffanie Floyd, Director, Finance & Operations: 

“If Europe decides to continue to reopen, my family and I are planning on going to Italy and Greece for the first time in 2022. We’re all excited!”




We hope you know how much you are appreciated.
Your leadership and commitment continue to make a difference in the lives of California students.

~Happy New Year from all of us at CCSESA~

2021 Steering Committee Highlights

The CCSESA Steering Committees and respective subcommittees have been very busy in 2021. As CCSESA has ramped up their goals to be more involved in legislative action, this has only increased the workload of our subject matter experts from the field, the very members that make up our various committees. The efforts of these committees were instrumental in the impact we made on legislation, and our reputation as a resourceful and knowledgeable organization is recognized statewide, thanks in part to this great work. Please take time to review some highlights from each Steering Committee below, with themes of engagement, advocacy, collaboration, growth, and more importantly, forward progress towards the goals of our strategic plan.

Business and Administration Steering Committee (BASC)

  • Higher level engagement with CalSTRS and CalPERS and alignment of message among reporting agencies (COEs), labor groups, and retiree members. Raised engagement in 2020 provided deferment of penalty action by CalSTRS. Continual collaboration has enabled groups to heighten the awareness of need for addition CalSTRS Guidance, training and consistency.
  • Increased collaboration with other Steering Committees has supported a broader and deeper guidance to LEAs around new plans, funding requirements, and enhanced education opportunities.
  • CCSESA budget advisory in the Common Message continues to provide leadership, collaboration and understanding as LEAs prepare their budget documents throughout the reporting cycle.

Looking forward to 2022: In alignment with the CCSESA strategic plan, we will be combining our AB 1200 conference with our CBO Conference into one event. We think this will enable us to incorporate the BASC members into a CCSESA combined event when that occurs.  Additionally, BASC intends to provide more on-demand access to historical trainings to provide year-round access to basic elements of county office business functions.

Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC)

  • Testified at the SBE or CPAG 7 times.
  • Wrote 10 advocacy letters
  • Lead or co-lead of 9 rapid response teams, ad hoc committees or work groups
    • All included collaboration with multiple other steering committees and most included collaboration with state agency partners such as CCEE, CDE, and SBE
    • Examples Include:
      • LCAP Template Rapid Response Team
      • Accelerated Learning Workgroup
      • Independent Study Rapid Response Team
      • One Time Funding Workgroup
  • Facilitated 22 LCAP Training or Calibration sessions
  • Collaborated on joint projects with other steering committees 3 additional times
    • Examples include:
      • ESSER III Guidance
      • LCAP/UCP Support
      • LCAP Approval Manual Updates

Strengthening and deepening relationships with state agency partners with focus on:

  • strengthening and refining the system of support
  • strengthening and improving communication and developing feedback loops
  • coordinating and integrating support
  • aligning initiatives and defining roles within these initiatives
  • supporting and encouraging the idea that CCSESA is part of the System of Support and the efforts of all county offices are strengthening the System of Support and leading to positive student outcomes

Looking forward to 2022: we look forward to strengthening relationships with equity and advocacy partners across the state, continuing focus on equity and state agency partnership and relationship building, identifying strengths and areas for growth related to COE work in the SOS and developing and action plan, and implementation of a “New DA” with the new requirements while continuing to deepen our existing DA work, and more!

Personnel Administrative Services Steering Committee (PASSCo)

  • Represented CCSESA in the Labor Management Initiative summer institute, serving as a panelist.
  • Testimony provided on behalf of AB 815  (nursing credentialing bill), resulting in amended legislation.
  • Worked with CCSESA regarding extension of 30-day emergency substitute permits to allow for 60 days of service in both Gen Ed and Special Ed classrooms through this fiscal year.
  • Worked with CCSESA and partners on Williams Act updates.
  • Supported the Credentials Network Subcommittee to offer a free, virtual Credentials Academy for COEs and districts throughout the state that had between 800-1,000 attendees at every workshop presentation.
  • Provided a free workshop with Rachel Shaw “Managing COVID-Related Accommodation Requests” for COEs and districts with hundreds of participants.

Looking forward to 2022: we will continue the work of supporting all county offices in their efforts to support all the districts with personnel matters. We will be emphasizing the connection with our colleagues in the Credentials Network Subcommittee.  In addition to celebrating their hard work in providing guidance and workshops for districts and institutes of higher education, we hope to strengthen our relationship with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).  PASSCo will continue to work with the CTC to promote understanding of the challenges with maintaining appropriate staffing and addressing the teacher shortage. PASSCo will also invite CCSESA staff to present the CCSESA strategic plan to promote better understanding of CCSESA’s larger goals and how PASSCo plays a part in that implementation.

Student Programs and Services Steering Committee (SPSSC)

  • Advocacy efforts
    • SBE letters and testimony regarding out of field/misassigned teachers in COE operated programs
    • SBE letters regarding the New Targets for State Performance Indicators in the Annual Performance Report for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, covering program years 2020-21 through 2025-26
    • Meeting with Karen Stapf-Walters, Amanda Dickey, and The Partnership for Children and Youth to discuss Expanded Learning Opportunities
    • Meeting with Brooks Allen, SBE, and Jessica Holmes, DOF, to discuss independent study
    • Meeting with Elisa Wynne, deputy staff director, to discuss 2021-2022 Virtual Learning Options
  • Collaboration across committees
    • CISC/SPSSC Monthly Independent Study Huddle
    • Joint and complimentary letters and testimony to SBE
  • Program improvement and professional development
    • Expanded Learning Opportunities
    • Partnerships with local community colleges
  • Collaboration across county-operated programs
    • Audit guide support
    • Development and requirements of mandated plans
    • Compliance requirements
    • Department of Juvenile Justice realignment

Looking forward to 2022: we look forward to participating in important discussions and providing input and technical support for special education accountability and governance discussions through SEACO, helping implement expanded Pre-K programs via COEPACD, and continuing with tradition as JCCASAC hosts their 52nd annual conference in May 2022.

Technology Steering Committee (TSC)

  • Created a TSC Legislative Subcommittee and worked on AB 1584 and Initial Broadband Projects to Help Bridge the Digital Divide.
  • The Disaster Recovery Subcommittee created a new Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Small School Districts that was released during the CITE conference on 11/17/21 (
  • Developed a new, streamlined PowerPoint presentation so that COEs can present the Disaster Recovery information to their school districts as an opportunity to support them.
  • Hosted a 3-day training online, “CIS Controls Training” that had 25 attendees, spanning 19 County Offices of Education with Josh Franklin, who serves as a Senior Cybersecurity Engineer for CIS.  Our training was the first since the adoption of the v8 controls in May, and Josh went into depth with each of the 18 controls and their safeguards.


CCSESA January General Membership Meeting

We can’t wait to see all of you IN PERSON next month in Rancho Mirage. If you haven’t already done so, please CLICK HERE to register in-person or virtually before January 7, 2022 (CCSESA room block closes January 4, 2022)

We have so many wonderful things planned for you, with the agenda focused on providing helpful, useful, and effective sessions through the lens of equity, to make the most of our time together, and planning for an amazing 2022.


CISC 2022 Leadership Symposium

30th Annual CISC Leadership Symposium
LIBERATE: Our Voice, Our Time
February 23-25, 2022
Monterey, California
Click here for more information or to register.

CCSESA Annual Awards Dinner

As we wrap up the year, we wanted to celebrate the winners of our 2021 CCSESA Awards, announced in San Francisco in October, one more time. The photo gallery of our 2021 Award Recipients is linked here.

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