Meet your new superintendent
Hello WPUSD Families,
Welcome (almost) to the 2021-2022 school year. While you hopefully have had (or will have) time to decompress this summer from a crazy 2020-2021 school year, we too have taken some time to reset and we have also been working hard to prepare for the upcoming year. I was going to wait until the end of July to send out my first update but, given the recent release of information from the state regarding expectations for schools in the 2021-2022 school year, I thought it better to send something out now.
I will continue to send updates as things evolve, and I promise you they will. We are still in the midst of COVID and it will be bumpy at times but, like last year, we will get through it. One thing I can tell you with 99% certainty (the 1% is for some major shift that none of us could have anticipated) is that we will provide full in-person instruction beginning August 19 and for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year. I can also promise that, to the extent within WPUSD's control, school will be as normal as possible while also safe.
In this update you'll find information about your new superintendent, the 2021-2022 CDPH guidance for K-12 schools, independent study for families not wanting students to return for in-person learning, summer food distribution, and new administrators to our district and/or to their role.
MEET YOUR NEW SUPERINTENDENT - KERRY CALLAHAN
Hello to all of you!! I am Kerry Callahan, your Superintendent, and I am thrilled to be serving WPUSD in this new role. I began my career in education in 1999 as a middle and high school math teacher in Honeoye – a rural community in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. I then moved to northern California and continued teaching math and AVID in Galt, CA. During that time, I earned her master’s in educational leadership and policy studies and my administrative services credential. In 2004, I was hired by Woodland Joint Unified School District to serve as their math coordinator. I also served Woodland as an elementary principal and high school assistant principal and principal. Western Placer Unified School District hired me as their assistant superintendent of educational services in 2014 and then promoted me to deputy superintendent in 2019. The past seven years serving WPUSD have been the best of my career. I absolutely love Lincoln and I believe WPUSD is the best District and there is no place else I would rather be.
I was born and raised in a small town in upstate New York, much like Lincoln used to be. So, I appreciate the small town feel that Lincoln strives to maintain - it feels like home! I have four siblings and several nieces and nephews and I enjoy going back to New York every year to visit. I now live in Davis and am married to my best friend and ally in education. Gary, my husband, recently retired from being Superintendent and is now spending his time being super dad to our nine-year-old son, Matthew. We also have two adult daughters, Lindsay and Jordan, who both graduated from Cal Poly and are now working and living near home. I would move to Lincoln in a heartbeat, but Gary grew up in Davis and we live in his childhood home. I know many of you can appreciate why I can't ask him to leave his roots even if I think Lincoln is better😃. When I am not working, I love to spend time with family and friends, but I also enjoy reading, playing games and running.
I look forward to learning your stories as our paths cross!!
2021-2022 CDPH GUIDANCE FOR K-12 SCHOOLS
Below is the link to the recently released guidance for K-12 schools from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
From what we are hearing behind the scenes, the guidance is likely to change and certainly will be better clarified in the weeks to come. We have been working closely with our county office, local health department, and surrounding districts to develop our local guidance that aligns with state and local directives. In a nutshell, the guidance currently requires universal masking for all staff and students. It does not require any social distancing or enhanced cleaning of shared spaces. It has recommendations regarding quarantining COVID positive persons and their close contacts that are contingent on masking and vaccination status. There are other components as well, but these are the biggest issues impacting the school environment for fall.
Based upon some of the feedback I have received on the state-directive regarding mandated face coverings for all students and staff, I am compelled to remind, or raise awareness, to a few related items and issues. Even though previous communications from Superintendent Leaman over the last couple of months indicated that the requirement to wear masks likely would still be in place, and this should not be a surprise to anyone, I do acknowledge this does not sit well with 100% of our stakeholders. While I can hear, and can respectfully understand, the nature of the positions and frustrations being expressed, I also believe it important for the following to be factored into the processing of this state-directed mandate and the impact on all of WPUSD.
This decision and direction to mandate face coverings for all staff and students was a decision made by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), not by WPUSD. Any messages of advocacy or acts of protest need to be directed at the source of the decision, not the district that is charged with implementing and enforcing the statewide mandate, as all school districts must as well.
As part of our obligation to be compliant, to follow-through on the CDPH mandate and to maximize our ability to keep all students and staff safe (our top priority), and to ensure we are doing all we can to protect the district overall, we also have to acknowledge the following, as has been communicated to all districts:
- Under operative executive orders and provisions of the California Health and Safety Code, schools must comply with orders and guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health and relevant local health departments (LHDs) to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health.
- Failure to follow CDPH guidance/public health directives can be enforced as a criminal offense. While a school district, through the school board, has broad permissive authority under Section 35160 of the Education Code, the district and board must act in a manner which is not in conflict or inconsistent with any law. If a school district takes action to forgo CDPH requirements it may present liability issues for individual board members, as well as any applicable district staff, for willfully neglecting to obey a lawful order issued under the California Emergency Services Act. Additionally, there could also be insurance issues with likely exclusions from insurance coverage, which puts the district in a very risky and vulnerable position that could significantly impact its budget.
Everyone has a right to their beliefs and perspectives, as well as the right to advocate as they deem necessary and we celebrate that. WPUSD is not dismissing, judging or denying the right to any aspect of this.
The intent here is to make sure that any communicating or messaging regarding this issue be directed to the proper authorities and be as well-informed as possible as to the realities involved.
As a public school entity, WPUSD is not taking a political position of any kind in this area. We are simply following the CDPH directive, as we would with any law/regulation/policy, as we are required and compelled to do---and as our stakeholders should expect us to do.
Our primary objective, every day, is to serve, support and protect our students and staff (and district overall). Our direction on this issue is completely aligned to that objective.
INDEPENDENT STUDY (K-12)
If you do not want your child to return to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, we have and independent study program through our ATLAS Learning Academy. If you would like more information regarding this program, please email or call Scott Pickett, our Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 645-6350.
There will be specific information regarding state expectations for and independent study program in the 2021-2022 school year and how parents can enroll in said program posted soon on our District website. Once available, I will include the link to information in an upcoming update. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to Scott Pickett.
SUMMER FOOD DISTRIBUTION (Reminder from Supt. Leaman's final update)
We are excited to offer seven days worth of breakfast and lunch meals over the summer. Meal pick-ups will be on Wednesdays at Glen Edwards Middle School from 9am - 11am or until supplies last
Anyone 18 years or younger who lives within the WPUSD boundaries is able to pick up meals
No pre-sign up is required
Our first summer pick-up will be June 14th and our last will be August 4th
Meals are FREE
Check out the WPUSD Food Service page HERE for more details.
OUR NEW ADMINSTRATORS
I already introduced myself as your new Superintendent and although I am not new to the District, I am new to this role. There are several other folks on our administrative team that are in the same boat as I - new to their role, but not to the District. They are:
Scott Pickett - Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services; Scott most recently served as our Director of Educational Services but was promoted to Assistant Superintendent after I vacated the position to serve as Superintendent. Some of you may know him as Principal at Creekside Oaks as he served several years there before moving into our District office.
Reno Penders - Director of Educational Services; Reno was most recently the Principal of Leaman Elementary and served as Principal of Creekside Oaks prior to that. As you can see, there was some domino playing this year as we filled vacancies 😃. Reno was promoted to Director of Educational Services when Scott Pickett vacated the position to serve as Assistant Superintendent.
Emily Ortiz - Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Coordinator; Emily was the Principal of Sheridan Elementary and part time MTSS Coordinator. However, with a need to increase services and supports for struggling students, we decided to make her position as MTSS Coordinator full time. If your child is struggling academically and/or social-emotionally and you are looking for resources, Emily is the person who will support the schools sites in providing services and supports to your child.
Shanna Parker - Principal of Sheridan Elementary & Special Projects Coordinator; Shanna previously served as our Assistant Principal at Glen Edwards Middle. In addition to serving Sheridan next year, she will also be overseeing COVID response.
Jennifer Horton - College & Career Coordinator; Jennifer previously served as our Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for career tech education (CTE) and STEAM education. With our District goal of college and career readiness for all students, we saw a need to have a new position that would be charged with enhancing services for students in preparation for college and career (i.e., internships, job shadows, college visits, etc.)
Chris Bombard - Assistant Principal at Lincoln High; Chris has been a teacher at Lincoln high for many years. Her served our county's CARE program for at-risk youth and most recently led the development and implementation of our very successful Information Communication Technology (ICT) career pathway. He is taking Cameron Layton's position at Lincoln High as Cameron left for an opportunity in Roseville Joint High School District.
Heather Pierce - Assistant Principal at Twelve Bridges High; Heather was the Assistant Principal at Twelve Bridges Middle but couldn't pass up the opportunity to get back to her high school roots. She is excited to continue to serve the students from Twelve Bridges Middle that are promoting with her to the high school.
Amy Pettersen - Assistant Principal at Twelve Bridges Middle; Amy was dubbed our COVID Queen this past school year as she embraced the opportunity to figure out what to do in response to COVID. She supported school sites with quarantining, etc., but I think we can all understand why she is thrilled to be taking on her new role at Twelve Bridges Middle. Prior to COVID, Amy served as one of our Program Specialists for special education .
Tom Butcher - Director of Maintenance & Operations (M&O); Tom technically started during last school year as our new Director of M&O, but we still needed him as our construction manager to finish out our Twelve Bridges High School project. What a beautiful school Tom helped to oversee the build of. Now he gets to ensure it's well maintained!
Now for all our new to the District administrators. Some haven't veered far from where they previously called home, but others have come from the bay area. This aligns with the news we are hearing about all the bay area people who are falling in love with Placer county and moving here in droves. I don't blame them - it's pretty awesome here. A big, warm WPUSD family welcome to the following:
Cliff De Graw - Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services; Cliff's previous role was Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for Petaluma City Schools. Before that, he was the Principal of Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville. Cliff is very familiar with our area as his father served the Roseville Joint High School District for several years as their Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services. Cliff's oldest daughter will be part of the first graduating class at Twelve Bridges High School.
Toni Vernier - Director of Special Education; Toni comes to us technically from Sonoma Valley where she was serving as a Director of Special Education, but she was only there a year - the commute was too much. She lives in Plumas Lake and wanted to be back home. She served as an administrator in special education and other areas for Marysville School District for many years prior to her short stint in Sonoma. We are happy she wanted to come back!
Jack Gout - Principal at Scott M. Leaman Elementary; Jack comes to us from Yuba City School District, but he is a Lincoln resident and can walk to work every day - I am jealous! Jack served Yuba City as a teacher, instructional coach, and most recently as an assistant principal. He's always wanted to work for WPUSD and loves it for his own children.
Julie Stearn - Principal at Carlin C. Coppin Elementary; Julie comes to us from Windsor School District where she served for many years as a teacher and then principal. Julie and her husband were helping her daughter find and buy a house here in Lincoln and they loved the area so much that they bought one too. Then Julie decided she should probably find a job. Thankfully for us the timing and fit were perfect.
Ana Castillo - Assistant Principal at Glen Edwards Middle; Ana comes to us from San Jose where she served as a science teacher, department lead, and then as an assistant principal. The students at Glen Edwards should know that Ana is quite the basketball player. If they ever challenge the staff to a staff/student basketball game they better double team her!
July 16, 2021 - Update #1 (2021-2022)
- COVID Update