Spotlight

IN THE SPOTLIGHT...

Alejandra Lopez - Prevention Services Coordinator
Image of Alejandra Lopez
During COVID-19, Alejandra continued the monthly district liaison meetings to determine the types of supports district liaisons are requiring. Communication protocols were shared with district liaisons, so they could continue to communicate with foster and homeless youth.

Educational Services purchased 250 backpacks and school supplies to equip the schools with. The backpacks were purchased in order to be distributed to school districts for McKinney-Vento students. All districts have received backpacks, including Children’s services. During early May, Zoom trainings were conducted with teachers, counselors, and secretaries to better inform them on McKinney-Vento and Foster Youth Basics. In addition, a resource guide was created with community resources for families, and it has been posted on the CCOE website.

More about Alejandra...
Alejandra Lopez provides technical assistance to all Colusa County school districts for the Foster and McKinney-Vento programs and continuously works to strengthen community relations to better address the needs of our students. Alejandra is a proficient trainer and has provided trainings to educators, support staff and local agencies on the educational rights of foster and homeless children and youth as well as best practices to ensure equitable educational opportunities for them.

Prior to working with CCOE, Alejandra worked as the Office Coordinator for Woodland High School and Child Advocate at Empower Yolo’s safe house for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Alejandra is originally from Huron, CA a rural community in Fresno County, and is the proud daughter of farmworkers.

Alejandra earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and is an invaluable Team Member. Her dedication to the Colusa County community has been an example of professional excellence and her leadership skills are evident in these trying COVID-19 times. Thank you Alejandra for your continued support to Colusa County students!


Alex Evans - Celebrating 20 Years of Service
Image of Alex EvansTell us about where you grew up, your family, and why you came to work for CCOE. 
Education has always been a huge part of my life. I spent most of my grade school years in Olivehurst, California. My mother was an Alternative High School Teacher when I was in grade school who later became a Special Education / Alternative Education Administrator for Esparto and Marysville. While attending High School, I took a Public Speaking class together with my father at Yuba College as he went back later in life to complete his Associates Degree. During my sophomore year, we moved to Yuba City, but thankfully I was able to finish with my friends at Lindhurst High School as part of the class of 1994. 

After High School, I attended Yuba College where I found my future career in Information Technology (IT). I took an internship at Yuba College which later turned into a part time job as Teacher’s Aid / Lab Assistant for the Business Division. There I learned how to apply the fundamentals of computer networking. While working at Yuba College, I had a few other part time computer jobs. I worked for a local computer shop called PC-Install-IT and part time for Cal-Trans in the IT Department. I also earned a IT certification as a “Certified Novell Engineer”. After 2 years of working at Yuba College, I was very excited to join the Colusa County Office of Education team as a Technology Coordinator at the age of 23. After working at CCOE for a few years, I met the love of my life and got married to my wife, Shenise. After getting married, I finished my Bachelor of Arts degree online in Organizational Management at Ashford University. We now have two children, Zander who is an excited 2nd grader and Avery who can’t wait to get into Kindergarten! 

Tell us about your role at CCOE and how it supports CCOE programs. 
For the past 7 years, I have been the Director of Technology for the CCOE Technology Department. I am very proud of my department, how we operate and the services that we provide for CCOE and the districts.  The role of the CCOE Technology Department is to help enhance other departments. Our job is to help staff and students do their jobs more efficiently. We walk a fine line between trying to cost effectively provide solutions that improve the workplace while keeping all of the equipment and training current. We give students and staff the best resources to shape their futures in an everchanging world. 

Our department has changed so much over the years with wonderful people doing great things for our community. As people come and go, they all contribute in ways that make it better. I am incredibly proud of Kyle who is the other half of our department and the rest of my Technology team members in the districts! We do great things together and always find a way to endeavor to raise the bar. 

What is your proudest moment at CCOE?
I am currently living my proudest moment at CCOE as we design and implement the Colusa County EduNet. The EduNet will help change the lives of students that cannot get internet access at home. We are working to provide every student in Colusa County internet access at home and give all students an equal playing field. Helping all students get internet access can change educational opportunities and empower students with a better future! 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
When I have spare time, I love playing games and spending time with my friends and family. I love traveling and being near the ocean. 

What is something many people may not know about you? 

Every year my family puts on a huge Halloween display at our house with the local Thriller Flash Mob making a stop in front of our house. You can see more if you google “Eerie Evans Estate” on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFt6poIaQfs 

Thank you, Alex, for your 20 years of service at Colusa County Office of Education. We appreciate you!


Image of Santana with TUPETobacco-Use Prevention Education (TUPE)

The TUPE program through Educational Services provides funding for programs in grades six through twelve through a competitive application process for tobacco-specific student instruction, reinforcement activities, special events, and intervention and cessation programs for students.

TUPE Special Events include:

  • Brief Intervention Program in collaboration with Colusa Sheriff’s Department: This program works with students countywide in creating healthy goals, educating on the dangers of vaping, and establishing alternative choices to live a healthier life.
  • Red Ribbon Week: This event provides students countywide with supplies (pencils, wristbands, etc…) It focuses on awareness of what the Red Ribbon represents which is a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness on drug abuse.
  • School Assemblies

For more information, visit the TUPE webpage and contact Santana King – TUPE Coordinator at santanaking@ccoe.net / (530) 473-1350 x:10305. 


Rhonda Sousa - Celebrating 35 Years as a Special Education Teacher at CCOEImage of Rhonda Sousa

Tell us about your family, where you grew up, and how you became a Special Education teacher.
I grew up in Orland, California and was the 3rd generation to graduate from Orland High School.  I have a twin sister and a little brother who is a doctor in Visalia.  I met my husband on a blind date when I was 19 years old and we just celebrated our 39th anniversary this summer. We have 2 great children. Our son is a lieutenant in the air force and our daughter, also a graduate of CSUC, is a social worker. I went to Shasta College with the intention of becoming a nurse.  During the summer of my 2nd year, I worked as a camp counselor at a camp for the handicapped.  I never looked back; changed my major to education, Special Education.  I graduated from CSUC in 1980 and did my graduate work there.  While in graduate school, I worked as a substitute teacher in general education and then an aide in a Special Day Class (SDC) classroom in Hamilton City and a long-term substitute teacher in a SDC class in Chico.


Tell us how you came to work at Colusa County Office of Education and the changes you have seen as a Special Education teacher.

In 1983, I interviewed with Dr. JoAnn Saltzen, Colusa County Superintendent of Schools, and was offered a job in Arbuckle.  At that time, Arbuckle was small so I taught at two sites, Pierce High School and Johnson Jr. High.  In fact, I was the first Special Education teacher at Johnson Jr. High. When the numbers of students increased, I was asked if I wanted to teach at Jr. High or High School.  I took the position full time at JJH and I loved it. In 1997, I transferred to Maxwell K-8 and later the high school so I could attend my kids sport activities. 

In 35 years at CCOE as a Special Education teacher, I have seen many changes in the laws and regulations in Special Education.  An IEP used to be 2-3 pages long, but now it is 18-30 pages depending on the student.  I watched our SELPA grow from SDC and Resource Rooms to Full-inclusion for all students thanks to Debra Owens, SELPA Director.  The qualifications for a Special Education teacher has also changed.  At one point, teachers had to have 3 years teaching experience before being accepted into the Special Education Program. Today teachers can get their general education and special education credential concurrently.  But with all of these changes, the students are still as wonderful now as they were when I first started. That’s probably why I’m still teaching. I have always been blessed with great aides, support personnel, and staff.  They have always made my job easier and fun. 

What is your proudest moment at CCOE and why?

My proudest moment is every year when I watch “my kids” walk across the stage at graduation.  Most parents insist that I have my picture taken with their graduates.  I am very proud to do so. Happy times and good memories.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy working in my yard, reading, going to “the cabin” in Mill Creek and visiting with my grandchildren.  I like to travel and I am looking forward to it more of it when I retire. I have a group of high schoolers that I want to see graduate and then I may retire or think about it.

Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing your journey and congratulations on your 35 years at CCOE!


Tammy Arce - Celebrating 25 Years of Service

Image of Tammy ArceTammy has been with Colusa County Office of Education for 25 years. Currently you will find "Teacher Tammy" working with preschool age children at Colusa Head Start. However, she started her career at CCOE in 1994 in Special Education as a Paraeducator with 3rd grade students at Arbuckle Elementary. Beginning the 1999-2000 school year, she moved to Children's Services as a Teacher/Paraeducator with preschool age children

Her proudest moment at CCOE? Tammy shares, "Every time I see a student succeed and learn something new, it makes me proud to be a part of their learning." 

Tammy was born and raised in Woodland, CA and moved to Colusa in 1992. She received her bachelor's degree in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento. Tammy and her husband raised one son, Patrick. Patrick is now married and lives with his wife, Rosanna, and their two sons, Christian and Cruz.  In Tammy's spare time she enjoys spending time with her grandsons. She also likes kayaking, reading, and walking with her friend Mary. Tammy's favorite colors are green and purple. Her favorite food is enchiladas. Something people may not know about Tammy? She loves watching old sitcoms. 

Thank you, Tammy, for your dedication to families and your 25 years of service with Colusa County Office of Education.