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​The Placer County Office of Education spotlights excellence in education through various programs for students, teachers, school districts, employees and community leaders.

 Academic Decathlon Winners

​Each year, the Placer County Office of Education supports student teams who compete in the Academic Decathlon - the premier scholastic competition for high school students across the country. Students are tested in ten categories including art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech. The competition culminates in the team event, called the Super Quiz.

Academic Decathlon teams spend months preparing for this demanding competition. In addition to mastering the extensive academic content, students learn about teamwork, goal setting, planning and leadership. Winning teams advance through the local, regional and state levels of competition.

Rocklin High School - 2021 Placer County Academic Decathlon Winners

This February, three Placer County teams competed in the 2021 Placer County Academic Decathlon - the premier scholastic competition for high school students across the county -- with Rocklin High School taking top honors scoring 21,764 points. This is the first time the school has won the countywide competition. The team now advances to the state finals, which will be held in March 2021. Read the press release.

 PCOE Employees of the Year


This year, the Placer County Office of Education shined the spotlight on five special employees who demonstrated dedication to the organization, an exemplary work ethic and a commitment to education.

  • Classified School Employee of the Year

  • Certificated Employee of the Year

  • Management Employee of the Year

  • Rookie of the Year

  • Superintendent's Award

Congratulations to the 2021 Placer County Office of Education Employees of the Year!


Kellie Darbo

Staff Secretary II, Onorato Education Center

Special Education


Celeste Elsey

Teacher, iLearn Academy

Special Education


Kimberly Lillienthal

Senior Director, Learning & Leadership Collaborative

Educational Services


Janel Raynor

Personnel Assistant

Human Resources

 Superintendent's Award

PCOE School Nurses and LVNs

Tracy Castro, Olga Garcia, Gaea Pope-Daum, Nancy Rahimi, Emily Reed, Julie Sumney, Raymond Victoria, Wendy Weimer and Pam Wicks

For their support of the PCOE COVID School Testing Centers

 PCOE Program Impact Stories


Image Stories ImageThe Placer County Office of Education provides services, programs and resources to ensure we provide a globally competitive, comprehensive, rigorous and relevant education to all students.​

Read more about our PCOE program impact stories to learn more about the life-changing effect these program have in Placer County. 

 Come Back Program

Meet Kevin. He is a 20-year-old recent high school graduate from the PCOE Intensive Community Action for Responsive Education (iCARE) Come Back Program. The program is based on an independent study model specifically designed to address the academic needs of adult students who have not completed high school and who wish to obtain a high school diploma rather than a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED), which is offered by most
continuing education programs.

Over the years Kevin struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and executive functioning skills. In the Come Back Program, he learned how to use a calendar to keep track of assignments and meetings, and he was able to work on tasks when he felt he was best able to focus. Kevin soon earned the 84 credits he needed to graduate and became a peer mentor to other adult students in the program. With his diploma in hand, Kevin is now living in his first apartment and started his own handyman business.

Come Back Program Facts:

  • 25% of students enrolled are over age 25
  • Oldest graduate is 62-years-old
  • 102 students have earned their diploma
  • More than 25% of students and graduates are Hispanic
  • 77% of graduates are socioeconomically disadvantaged

Community Partners:

  • Golden Sierra Job Training
  • Placer Re-Entry Program
  • Placer County Probation
  • Placer County Children's System of Care
  • Sacramento County Office of Education


Camie is a third-grade student. She has a physical disability that makes it difficult for her to speak. From the earliest days in her development, she couldn’t communicate what she wanted or what she’s excited about, no matter how hard she tried or how carefully her parents listened.

One day Camie came home from school excited to share something with her parents, and this day was different. Just a year prior she’d been given a voice-output communication tool. She went to the device and selected the picture of another student in her class. Her parents were then able to figure out that she was asking for the same haircut as one of her classmates. They immediately drove to the hair salon.

For parents who struggle to have a meaningful exchange with their children, this was a huge step forward and one of the driving forces behind the Placer County Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) Open Access Project.

SELPA is a state-mandated association which oversees and facilitates education services for students with disabilities.The SELPA office for Placer County is located at the Placer County Office of Education, and its operations are cooperatively governed by the Placer County Superintendent of Schools and member district superintendents. SELPA’s role is to ensure the specialized educational needs of each student with a disability in the county are appropriately met.

The project provides leadership and training to local education agencies across the state on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies. These strategies eliminate barriers that students with disabilities face when they are in a classroom. The goal of the project is to make it possible for every teacher in Placer County and beyond to provide the technology, access and support to help all students learn.

Special Education in Placer County:

  • Nearly 12% of students in Placer County require specialized education programs designed to meet their individual needs whether it be hearing or visual impairment, orthopedic disability, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders or emotional disturbance.

 Student Mental Wellness

Student mental health is critical to success in school and in life. A school climate in which adults maintain consistent expectations and teach positive social interactions greatly increase a child’s mental wellness.

In Placer County, 33 percent of high school juniors report experiencing chronic sadness and hopelessness. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among adolescents, and 16 percent of individuals in this age group have been hospitalized for self-harm. That’s why the Placer County Office of Education Prevention Supports & Services Department teamed up with the Placer County Children’s System of Care to establish student wellness centers on school campuses in Auburn and Roseville.

The Wellness Centers are staffed with mental health and family support specialists during regular school hours. The mental health specialists are licensed therapists whose primary functions are to facilitate the program and provide a continuum of mental health services. The family support specialists have a myriad of experiences with community resources, and their primary function is to work with parents and families to support student success – students like second-grader James.

James was having a hard day and was distraught, distracted and making a scene in class. After a time out in the Wellness Center, where a mental health specialist could address his needs, he returned to the classroom focused and engaged.

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.

Learn More:

 Placer County Classified School Employees of the Year


​Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica is pleased to announce the 2020 Placer County Classified School Employees of the Year.

“It takes an entire school community to ensure our students are ready for college, career and life," said Superintendent Garbolino-Mojica. “As the Placer County Superintendent of Schools, I am honored to recognize these amazing individuals for their commitment and contribution in making Placer County gold in education."

Each year, Placer County honors six Classified School Employees of the Year who best symbolize the profession's contributions and commitment to quality education. Honorees are then eligible to participate in the state program facilitated by the California Department of Education. ​

Congratulations to the 2021 Placer County Classified School Employees of the Year!

 Child Nutrition

Katherine Voigt

2021 Child Nutrition Employee of the Year

Antelope High School, Roseville Joint Union High School District


Jose Macias

2021 Maintenance, Operations & Facilities Employee of the Year

Rock Creek Elementary, Rocklin Unified School District​


​Ronda Black

2021 Office & Technical Employee of the Year

Placer High School, Placer Union High School District


Michele Berni

2021 Para-Educator & Instructional Assistance Employee of the Year

Newcastle Elementary School, Newcastle Elementary School District

 Support Services

​Julie Summey

2021 Support Services & Security Employee of the Year 

Placer County Office of Education


​Derek Bosserman

2021 Transportation Employee of the Year

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

 Placer County Teachers of the Year

 Teachers of the Year Overview

​Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica is pleased to announce the 2021 Placer County Teachers of the Year. ​

"Teachers like these are what makes Placer County gold in education," said Superintendent Garbolino-Mojica.

Congratulations to the 2021 Placer County Teachers of the Year!


Diane Welch

2021 Placer County Elementary School Teacher of the Year

Sierra Expeditonary Learning School (SELS), Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

 Middle School

Daniela Solley Thompson

2021 Placer County Middle School Teacher of the Year

Glen Edwards Middle School, Western Placer Unified School District

 High School

Rachel Stewart

2021 Placer County High School Teacher of the Year

Woodcreek High School, Roseville Joint Union High School District

 Placer County Trustees of the Year

Held Monday, November 18, 2019 at the Winchester County Club, the Placer County School Boards Association celebrated school board members and honored two trustees with Longevity Awards and five trustees with Trustee of the Year Special Recognition Awards. Read more.

Congratulations to the winners:

Longevity Awards

  • 25 Years - Tracy Pittman, Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District
  • 25 Years - Nancy Palmer, Sierra College

Special Recognition Awards: 

  • Rob Kanngiesser, Ackerman Charter School District
  • Michelle Sierra-Sammons, Auburn Union School District
  • Steve Peck, Newcastle Elementary School District
  • Suzanne Jones, Placer County Board of Education
  • Dr. Joyce Bradshaw, Placer Hills Union School District

Special thank you to the Placer County School Boards Executive Committee

  • Julann Brown, Chair, Auburn Union School District
  • Woody Hoffmann, Auburn Union School District
  • Josh Wilson, Foresthill Union School District
  • Kelli Gnile, Placer County Board of Education
  • Susan Goto, Placer CountyBoard of Education
  • Gary Johnson, Roseville Joint Union High School District
  • Maureen “Mo" Ward, Placer Union High School District.

 Video Spotlights

​See the excitement of PCOE programs and events for yourself in these great video stories.

COVID-19 and Our Schools: A Year in Review


Placer County Education Snapshot


​With the Right Teacher, Anything is Possible


Gold in Education


The Power of Community: Back-to-School Resource Fair


An Overview of Special Education at PCOE


Empowering Students to Come Back to Earn Dipolmas


Placer County Distance Learning 2020



​How can my student participate in the Spelling Bee?

The process begins with your local school district. Contact them for details and key dates.​

How do I nominate my teacher for Teacher of the Year?

The process begins with your local school district. Contact them to share your story and find out the process in your district.

 Contact List

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     Event Spotlight

    Students turning 16-18 years of age during the school year may register to vote by following the link to the Secretary of State's website.​


    “The best education is not given to students; it is drawn out of them." 

    ― Gerald Belcher​​​