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Spotlights Image


​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.

Western Sierra Collegiate Academy - 2020 Placer County Academic Decathlon Champions

On February 1, Western Sierra Collegiate Academy scored at total of 32,406 points to secure top honors in the 2020 Placer County Academic Decathlon and will represent Placer County in the state competition in Sacramento in March 2020. Read the press release.

The 2020 competition focused on the topic, “In Sickness and In Health – An Exploration of Illness and Wellness” with individual tests, speeches and interviews. Students tested in ten categories including art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech. The competition culminated in the team event, called the Super Quiz.

Congratulations to the Western Sierra Academy Team Members:

  • Aaron Bu – Gold Scholastic Super Decathlete
  • Lois Hagos
  • Sonny Huang
  • Pardis Keshavarz – Bronze Varsity Super Decathlete
  • Angela Kobrya
  • Kyle Kubota – Gold Honors Super Decathlete
  • Giselle Lacap – Silver Scholastic Super Decathlete
  • Ronald Tinker – Gold Varsity Super Decathlete
  • Hannah Treehan – Silver Honors Super Decathlete
  • Coached by Rachel Lewis, MA Ed.

 PCOE Employees of the Year


PCOE Employees of the YearThis 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 Placer County Office of Education Employees of the Year!


Sarah Hendricks Image

Sarah Hendricks

Maintenance Custodian


Sarah is a true professional with excellent customer service skills and an awesome attitude. She completes her duties with an eye for detail and perfection. No matter the task, she is ready to assist with a great big smile. We are proud to have her as part of the PCOE team.

See why Sarah is the 2019 PCOE Classified Employee of the Year. Watch the video.


Holly Justice ImageHolly Justice

Teacher for the Visually Impaired Program


Holly's dedication and compassion to ensuring student success is her greatest strength. She is an exceptional leader with integrity and wisdom. She is more than a teacher, she is her student's cheerleader, counselor, advocate and friend.

See why Holly is the 2019 PCOE Certificated Employee of the Year. Watch the video.


​Kerri Fulton Image​Kerri Fulton

Coordinator for Prevention Supports & Services


Kerri is an outstanding example of a PCOE manager who demonstrates our values both at work and in her personal life. She is an educational leader in school climate, mental health and wraparound. She is a truly extraordinary individual.

See why Kerri is the 2019 PCOE Management Employee of the Year. Watch the video.


Kristina Kress Image​Kristina Kress

Teacher for the iCARE Come Back Program


Kristina embodies the passion, determination and creativity required to support students in the Come Back Program. She is a fierce advocate who builds relationships and demolishes barriers that may stand in the way for her students to earn their high school diploma.

See why Kristina is the 2019 PCOE Rookie of the Year. Watch the video.

 Superintendent's Award

Chris Womack Image​Chris Womack

Computer Networking Specialist III


Chris has a passion for education and helps others use technology to accomplish their goals. He has a drive to succeed and excellent customer service skills. But most of all, Chris' endless enthusiasm and compassion for others makes him a stellar member of the PCOE family.

See why Chris is the 2019 Superintendent's Award recipient.  Watch the video.

 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. 


ECE Impact Story ImageIn the fall of 2016, a single mother reached out to the Placer County Office of Education's Early Childhood Education (ECE) Department which provides school readiness and family support to young children, their families, child care providers and the larger Placer County community. ECE's services primarily target low to moderate income families who are working, attending school or seeking employment. 

This mom had just escaped domestic violence and was looking to create a better life for herself and her child. Through the support of the dedicated team at PCOE, she enrolled her child in an Early Head Start school readiness program and enrolled herself in community college. While in school, her child was making friends and participating in science, math and reading programs designed to ensure school readiness socially, emotionally and academically.

Fast forward three years later and this single mom is now poised to graduate in December 2019 with a degree in nursing – and she already has a job offer. Most importantly, her child is thriving in preschool and ready for kindergarten.


Prevention Impact Story ImageIn Placer County alone, there are an estimated 1,800 homeless children and youth – and this Colfax family was once part of those devastating statistics.

For more than three years, the family of five had been living from motel to motel and the children were missing school frequently. The family reached out to the Placer County Office of Education Prevention Supports and Services department which helps local schools, and the 16 school districts it serves, develop systems of support for children and families to eliminate barriers to success. The department also provides direct support to Placer County's most at-risk populations including foster youth, homeless youth, and youth at the Crisis Resolution Center and the Juvenile Detention Facility.

The Colfax family began meeting weekly with PCOE and working collaboratively with local housing agencies including Advocates for Mentally Ill Housing. After several months of communication and relationship building, the Colfax family moved into an apartment.

The family is now thriving in permanent housing and both children are doing well in school with significant improvements in attendance. The family is more connected to their local community and they have hope for a brighter future.

 Transition Partnership

Transition Partnership Impact Story Image​For many, escaping a life of drugs and poverty is a nearly impossible feat. It's a story John knows all too well. 

John was a student in the Placer County Office of Education's iCARE community school program which serves students who are probation referred, expelled or voluntarily placed by a parent. He struggled in school, but wanted more for his future. He wanted to work. He wanted to learn a trade. He wanted to be a barber like his uncle.

Luckily for him, the Placer County Office of Education also provides programs to support students as they prepare to transition to adult life. In the Transition Partnership Program (TPP), in partnership with the Department of Rehabilitation, employment is a primary focus where students learn valuable skills such as workplace etiquette, time management, organization and budgeting.

Nearly one year later, John's dreams became a reality. Program staff connected him with a local barber who mentored him. He graduated from the iCARE program and barber school, and has the education and confidence to continue his success into the future. ​

“I'm going to make something of myself. Nobody ever thought I could, but I'm going to do it," stated John.


PBIS Impact Story Image​The Placer County Office of Education's Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program is a tiered approach to positive student behavioral interventions and acknowledgement which is designed to enhance the capacity of school sites, families and communities. PBIS helps set the stage for a positive school climate where all students can achieve and learn – and that's just what Rocklin Elementary School needed.  ​

Nearly four years ago, Rocklin Elementary School sought to lower referrals and suspension rates, but didn't have an established school-wide behavior model in place. They formed an exploratory team to investigate models and took advantage of the PBIS trainings offered to school leaders through PCOE.

The Rocklin Elementary School team developed school-wide behavior expectations based on the school's Bulldog mascot, called “PAWS" which focuses on problem solving, always caring, working hard and showing respect. They developed videos supporting each expectation, recognized student behavior with “dog tags" at school assemblies, and began to unify as a staff team under the PBIS model. And, they saw improvement. Students were no longer loud and wild while lining up for class after recess and disciplinary referrals to the office declined.

Fast forward to present day, Rocklin Elementary School continues to see dramatic reductions in referrals and suspension rates – by more than 50 percent – which earned them recognition as Platinum Award PBIS School for the 2017-2018 school year.

 Credential Program

Credential Program Impact Story Image​Meet Rachel. She's a first-year special education teacher in the Auburn Union School District working with four Instructional Assistants and 11 students in second through fifth grade who have a variety of academic, social-emotional and behavioral needs – each with their own Individual Education Plan. On a daily basis she juggles a million little things while meeting the needs of her students.

She's also an intern in the Placer County Office of Education's Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Credential Program which offers a comprehensive approach to educator preparation through training, lesson planning, coursework and coaching. Accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), the program is designed to prepare future education specialists in Placer County. ​

“I'm learning more than I expected," shared Rachel. “And, through the PCOE program, I feel more prepared to ensure my students have the world-class education they deserve." 

Rachel took her education to the next level and is building the background, knowledge and resources needed to ensure her students have a safe, positive, productive and structured learning environment.

 Placer County Classified School Employees of the Year


​Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica is pleased to announce the 2019 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 2019 Placer County Classified School Employees of the Year!

 T. Rissanen

Tracey RissanenTracey Rissanen

2019 Child Nutrition Employee of the Year

Rocklin Unified School District

 K. McWilliams

Kevin McWilliams Employee of the Year ImageKevin McWilliams

2019 Maintenance, Operations and Facilities Employee of the Year

Placer Hills Union School District​

 P. Soha

Pam Soha Employee of the Year Image​Pam Soha

2019 Office and Technical Employee of the Year

Western Placer Unified School District

 C. Gist

Crystal Gist Employee of the Year ImageCrystal Gist

2019 Para-Educator & Instructional Assistance Employee of the Year

Roseville Joint Union High School District​

 A. Hagen

Anna Hagen Employee of the Year Image​Anna Hagen

2019 Support Services and Security Employee of the Year 

Roseville Joint Union High School District

 S. Laguna

Sharon Laguna​ Employee of the Year Image​Sharon Laguna​

2019 Transportation Employee of the Year

Roseville Joint Union High 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 2019 Placer County Teachers of the Year. ​

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

Congratulations to the 2019 Placer County Teachers of the Year!


Elementary Teacher of the Year Image

​Ashley Rue

Elementary Level

Roseville City School District

Ms. Rue has a strong passion for education and it shows in her interactions with her students, aides, administration and with parents. She is described as a patient mentor for her students who helps them discover gems of wisdom within themselves. She is intentional in her approach to learning and has the ability to recognize when a change is needed to meet the needs of every student. She seeks out and adapts to the diversity of learners in her classroom and strongly believes in the importance of social emotional learning. 

Ms. Rue has a growth mindset based on the philosophy that “we should be better teachers today than we were yesterday." She continues to seek out new strategies, tools and tactics. She attends professional development workshops, contributes to her Professional Learning Community of first grade teachers and takes time during her prep period to observe other teachers in order to gain new insights into instruction. Additionally, she organizes a writer's workshop for students and directs the school musical with enthusiasm. ​

 Middle School

Middle Schoole Teacher of the Year Image

​John-Paul Gonzalez

Middle School Level

Loomis Union School District

By all accounts, Mr. Gonzalez beat the odds. He had a tough upbringing and couldn't read until third grade. But, with the support from a caring mentor and teacher, he eventually went on to earn a master's degree in adaptive physical education which has become his life's passion. Mr. Gonzalez believes anything is possible if you work hard, believe in yourself and strive to get better – and that's the message he brings to his students each and every day. 

Mr. Gonzalez has a strength for boosting student confidence and independence, and focuses on building student character. He understands the connection between physical activity and learning and strives to ensure class activities are adaptive to meet the needs of all students. 

In addition to leading the Loomis Union School District physical education department and peer mentor program, Mr. Gonzalez also coaches more than eight sports and volunteers his time serving students with disabilities throughout the community. Specifically, Mr. Gonzalez leads a team of middle school students each year to volunteer as student coaches for the Jessie Baker School Special Olympics in Elk Grove. Students describe this as a life-changing experience.

 High School

Highschool Teacher of the Year Image

Erin Granucci

High School Level

Roseville Joint Union High School District

With more than two decades in the classroom, Ms. Granucci describes herself as a life educator rather than a teacher. Through the Project Lead the Way (PLTW), she sees her students develop, grow and thrive not only in the classroom, but in their self-esteem, confidence and ability to make an impact in the world. She takes every opportunity to mold c​oursework fit into real-world experiences through project-based learning. Her students come into the classroom, put on their lab coats and “go to work." She provides her students with instruction and guidance, but then gives them room to explore concepts and experiment with their own solutions. In fact, one of her students has already been offered a career internship after graduation for their work in assessing art therapy for Alzheimer's patients. 

“I am amazed at what my students accomplish and the innovative and creative ideas they come up with in order to solve today's medical problems and to make our future better," said Ms. Granucci.

Each year, the Placer County Office of Education honors three Teachers of the Year – Elementary School, Middle School and High School – through a process that highlights educational innovation, student learning, a commitment to professional development and empathy for all students to ensure equity in education. Further, the program highlights the positive aspects of our educational system. 

 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.

 Spelling Bee Winners

2019 Spelling Bee Winners Can you spell A-M-A-Z-I-N-G? Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Placer County Spelling Bee.​

“We're proud of the academic achievements of our students in Placer County. The students who participated in the spelling bee are the top 10 students in their grade level in the county and are all winners," said Superintendent Garbolino-Mojica.​

Congratulations to the 2019 Spelling Bee winners:​

Ashleen K. Gill
Fourth Grade​
Orchard Ranch Elementary (Roseville City School District)

Aaron Baur
Fifth Grade
Stoneridge Elem​entary (Roseville City School District)

Hosanna Teketel
Sixth Grade
Antelope Crossing Middle School (Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District)

Sarah Yee
Seventh Grade and Grand Finals Champion
Granite Oaks Middle School (Rocklin Unified School District)

Abhinav Sharma
Eighth Grade
Granite Oaks Middle School (Rocklin Unified School District)​​

 Video Spotlights

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

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



​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​​​