The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is one of 58 county offices located throughout the state. Approximately 650 regular and more than 950 temporary and substitute SCOE staff work year-round providing services which complement and supplement those offered by public school districts in Sacramento County. More than 242,000 K-12 students are served by public schools in Sacramento County.
Classified Employee of the Month
Joni Ornelas, Outdoor Education Support Specialist, was nominated by Sly Park Conservation & Environmental Center Director Kris Pamintuan for her contributions to the Sacramento County Office of Education. Ms. Ornelas is responsible coordinating all of the reservation details and tasks that make it possible for schools and groups to visit the Sly Park campus. She communicates in-depth and extensively with schools regarding their pre-trip preparations, including creating cabin and hiking group lists, collecting and maintaining paperwork, and keeping track of financial records. She is instrumental in helping manage the overall Sly Park budget, working closely with SCOE's Financial Services Department to process purchase orders and oversee payables/receivables for the various Sly Park accounts. Her supervisor lauds Ms. Ornelas's efforts to establish a new, well-organized system for maintaining important records in both in paper and digital format. She also applauds Ms. Ornelas for helping to streamline communication with school and private guest groups, as well as improving internal processes and procedures. "Joni is incredibly well-organized," says her supervisor. "She consistently demonstrates excellent communication and customer service skills both with customers and with Sly Park staff." Before their class arrives at Sly Park, Visiting Teachers have been contacted and oriented by Ms. Ornelas to help them prepare for their week. Ms. Ornelas's supervisor reports, "In my weekly wrap-up meetings at the end of each week, visiting teachers regularly tell me how much they appreciate Joni's detailed e-mails and phone calls. After 16 years of bringing students to Sly Park, one visiting teacher commented that her pre-trip communication with Sly Park was 'the best it had ever been' due to Joni's wonderful organization and regular communication. Joni is truly an exemplary employee." Ms. Ornelas has been employed by the Sacramento County Office of Education since August 2015.
Certificated Employee of the Month
Suzanne White, Teacher, was nominated by Sly Park Conservation & Environmental Center Director Kris Pamintuan for her contributions to the Sacramento County Office of Education. In Sly Park's unique "outdoor classroom," Ms. White teaches sixth-grade students Common Core State Standards-aligned and Next Generation Science Standards-aligned science and environmental awareness. Throughout the traditional school year, a new group of students arrives at Sly Park every Monday for a week-long learning adventure. Among the lessons and activities Ms. White conducts are a hike through the beautiful Children's Forest to discover the inner workings of ecosystems, a visit to the planetarium dome where students are amazed by the night sky and get to explore our solar system, a trek down to Park Creek to investigate aquatic insects, and survival shelter building and geocaching to practice STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. Her supervisor notes: "Fern, as her students know her, is an intelligent and thoughtful, yet entertaining, teacher. Each week she has to quickly intuit the background knowledge and individual needs of her students and then adjust her lessons and teaching style accordingly; she does so with great care and consideration. Suzanne constantly tries new lessons and activities, and tests new teaching techniques to better engage her students, to help them be as successful as possible, and to ensure that they have a fun learning experience." Concludes her supervisor, "Incredibly creative, resourceful, and ingenious, one of Suzanne's biggest contributions to Sly Park is her ability to problem-solve. With each brilliant new idea, she is able to help positively shape the Sly Park program, streamline procedures, or develop programs, lessons, and activities that create lasting memories for the Sly Park students." Ms. White has been a Sacramento County Office of Education employee since October 2012.