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CCSESA Newsletter2021

MarchVolume 19 / Issue 3

Meet our CCSESA Superintendents...

Dr. Edwin Gomez Riverside County Superintendent of Schools

  • What led you to a career in education?

    At an early age, I discovered that education was the key to success and as a result, I personally benefited from high quality public education. I knew that as an immigrant, an English Learner and a first generation college graduate, I aspired to create a more resourceful and a more opportunistic cradle to career pipeline for the next generation. That is why I became a teacher. To become a principal, K-8 Superintendent, K-12 Superintendent and now a County Superintendent was not part of the initial plan but it became a reality because I have always looked for opportunities where I can be purposeful and impactful to as many students as possible.

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

    Riverside County is the 4th largest county by area in California, which encompasses 23 school districts, 28 cities, 75 unincorporated communities and 12 federally recognized Indian Reservations. The large geographic area allows me to enjoy diverse landscapes, cities, and demographics.

    “As an educator and an administrator, I continue to learn each day from our diverse school districts and the amazing students, community and staff that fills them. We enjoy working with school districts across the county to improve the lives of our students and their families.”


    What are some objectives you would like to achieve in the next few years?

    I’ve launched four initiatives to support student success including a focus on mental health, financial literacy, literacy by fifth grade, and equity and inclusive practices. We’re working to solidify local and regional partnerships for each initiative in order to support our 430,000 students at our county’s 23 school districts.


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

    Educational Technology Services (ETS) – Over the last two years, the Riverside County Esports League has grown to encompass 285 participants and 18 individual tournaments for middle and high school students. Thanks to a donation of $25,000 from the ViewSonic Corporation, students who participate in Riverside County’s Esports League can now compete for scholarships to pay for college. The donated funds will be used for college scholarships for winning schools (in both individual and team tournaments), esports league participants, gift cards for tournament winners, developing online curriculum for esports related content, and minimizing league costs and supplies.

    Migrant Education Program (MEP) – The team is serving students through the Migrant Education School Readiness Program (98 students), After School Tutorial Program (53 students), and the Credit Recovery Program (17 students). Session one of the virtual Biliteracy Program is in full force and serving 14 families on a weekly basis. The region has also started working with the speech and debate teams in middle and high schools. There are currently 18 students participating throughout the region.

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

    I am a voracious reader who enjoys reading about history. My favorite historical area to read and learn about is the dynamics that lead up to World War 2. I also enjoy spending time with my wife, Jessica and two children: Emmanuel and Alyanna. Additionally, My family originates from Peru but I was born in Mexico and raised in Pasadena, California. My family’s story to accomplish the “American Dream” truly defines who I am today and why I do what I do.

    What does being a county superintendent mean to you?

    To represent 430,000 students and their families is an honor I don’t carry lightly. We’re proud of our accomplishments and wake up every day enthusiastic about serving our community and creating additional educational opportunities in Riverside County.

    For more information about Riverside County Office of Education:

    Visit the RCOE Website    @
    Like RCOE on Facebook   @
    Follow RCOE on Twitter   @ RCOE

Leadership Link

Meet the 2021 PASSCo Chair Coleen Johnson, Chief Administrator (Human Resources) at the Sacramento County Office of Education

What led you to your current role at the Sacramento county office of education or to education in general?

Early on in my life, I felt “called” to be a teacher.  (You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher!  I have a whiteboard in my office and sometimes I just have to get up and write on it.)  As I progressed in my teaching career, I desired to grow professionally and to have the opportunity to impact students, staff, and families in a greater way.  I served as a Vice Principal and a Principal before venturing into the Human Resources realm at a district level.  During my time at the district level, I felt drawn to county office work.  I tend to approach human resources work in a very humanistic way; our work is based on relationships, and having positive relationships with those I work with, lead, and serve, makes all the difference to me.  I have been blessed to now have served in two different County Offices over the last ten years (El Dorado and now Sacramento).  I find county office work to be meaningful because of our role with our districts, our advocacy, the types of programs we provide, and the opportunity to serve both locally and statewide.

What does your day to day look like as the chair of the PASSCo Steering committee and the Chief Administrator (Human Resources) for the Sacramento county office of education?

I look forward to coming to work each day and every day is different.  In fact, regardless of what is on my calendar, my day could change at a moment’s notice! I try to start my day with exercise (I’m a runner) and personal devotions before heading into the office.  I work closely with my program colleagues here at SCOE (Sacramento County Office of Education) and am typically collaborating with them – most currently, in regard to reopening programs, testing, vaccines, staffing proposals, employee relations related topics, and SCOE wide initiatives.  Regular meetings include team “huddles” (Zoom) with my personnel team, cabinet meetings, monthly Personnel Commission meetings, bimonthly County Board meetings, and lately, weekly CCSESA and Schools Insurance Authority (our JPA, Joint Powers Authority) meetings regarding COVID related updates. I meet weekly with our bargaining unit leaders (along with several of our cabinet members) and see such a benefit in having a good working relationship with them.  In terms of bargaining, I serve on the SCOE bargaining team. I am in communication with our Capital Service region colleagues and PASSCo colleagues via email and sometimes phone calls on a regular basis.  I will occasionally be involved in supporting one of our small districts with a Superintendent search.  During non-COVID times, I enjoyed making site visits to our programs with my Cabinet teammates and hope that can resume again soon!

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

I would like to see PASSCo really support legislative advocacy and equity related topics.  We are so lucky to have strong leadership in CCSESA in terms of legislative advocacy and am grateful for that support.  We still suffer from a critical shortage of educators in specialized positions (school nurses, Speech and Language Pathologists, special education teaching positions, and substitutes, etc.).  It is important that while we address these shortages, we recruit and retain a diverse workforce and that barriers to doing so are removed.

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

The professional development provided by PASSCo to its members is a true bright spot.  We have been able to bring in high quality presenters on a variety of timely topics.  This benefits our members and helps us to support our districts with expertise.  The other bright spot is found within our regional groups.  While this varies somewhat from region to region, generally, our regional groups support each other and offer professional development to districts within their region (such as the joint hosting of a Labor Management Initiative convening in April by Sacramento COE and El Dorado COE).

What does being a PASSCo member mean to you?

Two things come to mind:  1. PASSCo is a supportive, collegial community that equips our county office colleagues to better support our organizations and our districts; and 2. PASSCo provides opportunities to lead at a local, regional, and state level.  This is a way to give back to the profession that has enriched my career.


“Exposure to the arts and the process of creating art is so important in providing opportunities for student self-discovery and connections to their world. We value the arts for themselves, but also how they create pathways for students to actively engage with history, science and other academic areas. We cannot underestimate the value of the arts in developing creativity and the ability to see things differently. Mono County Office of Education is committed to continuing its support of arts programs in all of our Mono County schools and communities.”

– Stacey Adler, Ph.D., Mono County Superintendent of Schools


“As the County Superintendent, I want to ensure that every child has access to the arts, every day. Arts education helps students think critically, develop sophisticated solutions to complex problems, become skilled collaborators, excel in all forms of communication, become engaged citizens, develop empathy, understanding, and a healthy sense of self-worth. The arts are for ALL, and the arts are essential in Fresno County.”

– Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools


“Access to a contemporary, innovative, and high quality arts education is essential for all students. Humboldt County is an incubator for artists and the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) serves as a catalyst and collaborator with schools and local organizations in program design, offering relevant professional development, providing engaging student experiences and advocating for the arts at the regional and state level. Student success is our top priority and the integration of a vibrant arts education not only improves student outcomes but fosters school culture that promotes community, connectivity and joy! Let the Arts Shine!”

– Chris Hartley, Ed.D., Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools


CCSESA Director Co-Authors Arts Textbook Teacher as Curator

Director of the CCSESA Arts Initiative, Sarah Anderberg, and Dr. Lisa Donovan of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, were pleased to announce that their recent book, Teacher as Curator, was formally launched by the Teachers College Press last month.

The book provides a roadmap for using creative strategies to engage both educators and students in the learning process. Focusing on key qualities of culturally and linguistically responsive arts learning, chapters specifically demonstrate how arts integration strategies and formative assessment can be a catalyst for change in the classroom. Readers will be inspired by teachers and practitioners who have donned the role of curator to achieve significant results. Kindergarten–college educators will find research-based protocols and practices that they can translate into any educational setting.

In digestible chapters, this resource provides a theoretical base for building artistic literacy into the curriculum and for developing multimodal opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding of content.

CCSESA is very excited to have one of our own achieve such an amazing accomplishment in building up resources for instructors and administrators nationwide. Please click here to access more information about this Textbook. 

CCSESA Coordinated Virtual Arts Exhibit

The CCSESA Statewide Arts Initiative coordinated an online art exhibit featuring California students (grades TK-12) at the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Virtual Annual Conference on March 23-27, 2021.

The beautiful collection of artwork represents students from 54 schools in 34 school districts throughout 17 counties. Sarah Anderberg served as Honorary Chair and Jessica Mapes served on the CABE 2021 Conference Planning Committee and coordinated the virtual student art exhibit. Please click here to access the exhibit.

MCOE Presents Create: Eastern Sierra Summer Arts Institute: June 21-22,2021

Mono County Office of Education (MCOE)  in conjunction with the Mono Arts Council presents the Create Eastern Sierra Summer Arts Institute, taking place June 21-22,2021. CESSAI provides arts training and tools that meet the California Arts Standards and address Social-Emotional Competencies for teachers to integrate into their classrooms. For more information please click here.

Annual JCCASAC Conference: May 12-14th 2021

The Juvenile Court, Community and Alternative School Administrators of California (JCCASAC) is thrilled to host the 51st Annual State Conference from May 12-14, 2021. This will be a time for colleagues to come together to network, to share best practices, and to learn from each other and experts in the field. Join us as we continue to strive in “Changing Student Lives & Ensuring Equity in a Digital World!” If you are interested in attending the virtual conference please visit the conference website found here.

Learning Policy Institute Issues New Reports

The Learning Policy Institute now has a resource hub related to reopening schools and is also releasing a series of profiles that document how several places have reopened schools and kept them open. The first in this series, Marin County: Leveraging Education and Public Health Partnerships to Support School Reopening, documents Marin County’s efforts to reopen more than 85% of its schools since fall 2020. The second in the series, New York City Public Schools: Supporting School Reopening With a Focus on Testing and Tracing, outlines how the former pandemic hotspot became the first large US city to reopen all of its schools.

Also released this month, LPI’s California Teachers and COVID-19: How the Pandemic Is Impacting the Teacher Workforce, investigates the impact of the pandemic on key aspects of teacher supply and demand. The top line findings are that:

  • Teacher shortages remain a critical problem.
  • Teacher pipeline problems are exacerbated by teacher testing policies and inadequate financial aid for completing preparation.
  • Teacher workload and burnout are major concerns.
  • Growing retirements and resignations further reduce supply.
  • Teacher residencies and preparation partnerships have proved important to recruitment.



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