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CCSESA Newsletter2021

MayVolume 19 / Issue 5

Meet our CCSESA Superintendents...

Cathy Parker Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools

  • What led you to a career in education?

    I have had inspiring educators in my life ever since I started school. My fondest memories are of Warwood Elementary and Junior High School in West Virginia. My handwriting teacher, Mrs. Wavra, had us practice making perfect loops as a warm-up to our cursive lessons. Mr. Walling nurtured my lifelong love of science by always admiring the fossils I brought in that my coal miner father found at work. Miss Rinehart identified my vision issues which led me to receiving my first pair of glasses in 5th grade. All along the way, my teachers made sure that not only was I learning, but they also made me feel like I was part of an extended family that cared for each other. These wonderful people made me want to pursue a career that was dedicated to serving and helping people. Initially I thought that was through pursuing a legal career, but after receiving my bachelor’s degree, I took a part time job as a school secretary at a two-room classroom in the Sierra – Pinecrest School.

    “I discovered that working with students was exhilarating and I received my teaching credential a few years later. I feel that I am extremely lucky to have a career that brings me so much joy.”



  • What does your day look like as the county superintendent of schools?

    That is one of the highlights of this position – it changes daily. One day I may be visiting some of our county operated programs and work with students directly on some of their projects and the next day I will be setting up vaccination clinics for our staff. Today, for example, will start with an Emergency Operations Call (EOC) related to a COVID update, then shift to meetings regarding SELPA and special education. Afterwards, I will work with our STEM specialist to finalize details for our summer Mad About Science camp for 4th and 5th grade students, then I will be meeting with my CCSESA colleagues on a Wellness Advisory group. I will finish the day with a call with the CDPH regarding antigen testing and a special County Board meeting to adopt the ELO plan. It is never a dull moment; however, the best parts of my days are when I am out at our programs or at districts sites with students.

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

    I am especially proud of the programs we have developed through the Learning Communities for School Success Program (LCSSP). We were just awarded a grant for another 3 years to continue the work we have started. Through this grant we provide early intervention support to students at all our districts with a team that includes an LSW, MFT, and Director who has years of experience in working with students that have obstacles and challenges. The idea behind this approach is to help schools develop their own support teams by modeling best practices and mentoring site teams to address student needs before they result in suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to special education.

    The Director also serves as the SARB program Director and has changed the format to one of trauma-informed practices. The agencies that serve on SARB consider each situation as a unique opportunity to provide wraparound services not only to students but also their families which includes navigators to assist with accessing mental health services. This year, we were honored with the Model SARB award. Our motto at our office is ‘All Means All – All the Time’. So even if students may be demonstrating challenging behaviors or making questionable decisions, we will be there as a support through it all.

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

    When I worked at Pinecrest School, I was convinced to earn my bus driving license with the lure of having our own bus to take on field trips whenever we wished. I earned the license then the district announced that I would also be driving the morning and afternoon bus loop – in the snow. In four years, we only had one day where I couldn’t run the bus loop. As soon as I became a teacher, I let that license lapse. I have the greatest respect for bus drivers!!

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Leadership Link

Meet the 2021 TSC Chair Ryan Choate, Director III, IT Network Services Alameda County Office of Education

What led you to your current role at the Alameda County Office of Education or to education in general?
I was living in San Francisco building large-scale corporate networks and servers during the dot com boom. The recession hit and it became very difficult to find work. I started looking for a stable government job so I could support my son. I applied for and received a low-level desktop technician job for the Hayward Unified School District. At HUSD, I was able to justify and receive funding for a complete infrastructure & server refresh for the school site I worked at. I was performing all of my duties and more. I enjoyed the work, felt at home and supported by a community of public sector IT professionals. I then took a position at the Emeryville USD as the IT Director. AT EUSD I replaced all the servers, build an IT disaster recovery plan, replaced all the teacher computers, setup an imaging solution to repair corrupt staff computers and lots more! I then moved to San Leandro USD as the CTO, where I worked on a high-speed fiber optics project in partnership with the city, moved our environment to Google, refreshed all of the servers, created a disaster recovery plan, deployed a 1-to-11 initiative for student devices and much more! After SLUSD I applied for my role at Alameda County Office of Education and here I am. The community of support TSC provides to K12 education does not exist anywhere else. I enjoy my job and I am proud to work with such an exceptional community of IT professionals.

What does your day to day look like as the chair of the TSC Steering committee and in your role at the Alameda County Office of Education?
Honestly, my days are long; I am frequently double-booked for meetings and tend to work late to ensure everything is working and completed on time. I have an amazing TSC executive committee that I work with every day. We distribute the work and I could not do it without them! My day to day as TSC chair is perfect. The daily work we do is making a difference for so many and I would not have it any other way.

What are some of the goals or objectives you would like to achieve within TSC this year?
I would like to solve the digital divide dilemma that our students face. I know that is an unrealistic goal to accomplish in a year, so I will settle for a plan and more accurate data. I have been very impressed with the other steering committees. I see a lot of value in having a goal for us to work together on initiatives and continue expanding our communication across steering committees. I am also working to ensure the good work our subcommittees are doing is relevant for the K12 community. I am also working on expanding our TSC legislative committee to accommodate for an increase in technology legislation and to ensure CCSESA has support from TSC.

What is a bright spot / exemplary program in your Steering Committee that would be of interest to other educators?
TSC has been working with K12HSN to provide internet access for students/teachers/administrators. The collective work we do has allowed schools to operate remotely during the pandemic. Although TSC has not directly worked on mental health initiatives, I have to believe that behind the scenes, we have improved the mental health of everyone involved in K12 education.

What does being a TSC member/chair mean to you?
Being a TSC member has provided me the resources I need to do my job exceptionally well. Every TSC member is family and supportive of one another. Being a TSC member makes me proud; I know I am a part of something that is making a positive difference in this world.

Monterey COE Hosts the Governor for Historical Education Budget Release

The week of May 10th was an exciting one, as the state of California was eagerly awaiting the release of the much-anticipated May Revise budget from Governor Gavin Newsom and his team. After the role that our schools played in both navigating a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and shifting the way we delivered education to students, we knew all eyes would be on the release of the education portion of the budget. What we could not anticipate is that one of our very own county superintendents would have the honor of hosting the Governor as he publicly unveiled his historical (proposed) budget for education.

On Wednesday, May 12, Dr. Deneen Guss, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools, hosted a VIP list of guests including Governor Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly at Elkhorn Elementary School in the North Monterey County Unified School District. Together, they outlined the Governor’s California Comeback Plan, which proposed the highest level of state school funding in California history.

We know the role of the county office has been amplified during the pandemic, and we know it is because of the remarkable ways that our county offices have all stepped up during this challenging time that our Governor turned to one of our county superintendents to host this special announcement. Congratulations to Dr. Guss and her team for doing an amazing job and continuing to help project the role, value, and image of county offices in a positive way.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month


May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we asked a few of our county superintendents who are actively involved with mental wellness efforts in their county offices, to give us some insight based on the following question: Regarding mental health, what do you think is the most important role that the COE can play in helping address the mental well-being of our students and staff?

Calaveras County Superintendent of Schools, Scott Nanik:

“The COE’s most important role in addressing mental well-being for our students and staff is to use our countywide position to build communication and collaboration among our districts and partnerships with county and state agencies.   We work to sustain a supportive community in which districts can share mental health resources and address challenges, and we connect districts to funding, programs and services available at both the county and state levels.  We coordinate countywide efforts, such as mental health crisis protocols and a trauma summit, that build capacity and improve safety.”

Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Mary Barlow:

“Social and emotional well-being are foundational to success in school.  By nurturing the mental health of students and staff, KCSOS and Kern County school districts help ensure that all students thrive and that they achieve at the highest levels.  In addition to providing direct mental health support to students and districts, KCSOS provides linkages to mental health best practices, professional development on issues such as trauma informed care, and collaboration between districts and our Kern County Behavioral Health and other local mental health service providers.”

Orange County Superintendent of Schools, Al Mijares:

“With children and teenagers reporting elevated rates of depression and anxiety even before the pandemic, it is critical for county offices of education to coordinate training and technical assistance in partnership with local public health agencies to address the complex mental health needs of students, including those who have endured Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. This work should be embedded within California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support framework, which establishes a baseline level of support for all students, additional assistance for some, and targeted interventions for those with the greatest needs. It must also be driven by a commitment to engage all students, and that starts with knowing every name, face and story.”

Placer County Superintendent of Schools, Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

“Student mental health is critical to success in school and in life. Through community collaborations, professional development opportunities for educators and advocacy at the regional and state levels, my office plays a vital role in helping address student mental wellness. We recently partnered with the Placer County Children’s System of Care to establish wellness centers on school campuses in Auburn and Roseville. By supporting students and teaching them to build their resiliency and coping skills, the wellness centers are making a difference one student at a time.”

May Resources

As we wrap up a busy month, we know that many of you have done amazing work to celebrate AAPI Heritage and provided support and resources in honor of Mental Health Awareness. But we also know that this work is not limited to one month, so we have provided even more resources for you below, in the hopes that it supports your year-round efforts. We would like to draw your attention to a special piece written by your colleague, Susan Salcido, that we are honored to include in our list of helpful resources.

AAPI Heritage Resources:

Susan Salcido’s Op-Ed March 29 2021

AAPI Heritage Resources for Teachers

Mental Health Resources:

Inside California Education: Focusing on Mental Health

Wellness Together

National Association of School Psychologists 

Mental Health First Aid for Youth

National Alliance on Mental Illness



California Educator Recruitment & Retention Virtual Symposium

On June 11, 2021 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, CCSESA and the California Center on Teaching Careers will co-facilitate the California educator recruitment and retention virtual symposium 2.0. For more details and to register for the virtual symposium, please see the flyer linked here.






SBE Approves SCOE Led Distance Learning Curriculum and Instructional Guidance

Earlier this month the State Board of Education approved the ‘Distance Learning Curriculum and Instructional Guidance’. This guidance reframes and integrates essential principles of digital learning, mathematics, literacy, and language development. The process of development and iteration brought together subject matter experts from all content areas, and allowed for the important conversations, improvement cycles, and multiple perspectives in its development. Sacramento COE led the efforts to fundamentally redesign the structure and foundational message when stakeholders made it clear that content cannot be separated from instruction and that conceptions of identifying “critical standards” can often be misguided. Additionally, more than 30 individuals from county offices of education engaged in given feedback and helping to shape the content of this guide. You can find the guide by clicking here.

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