Scott Pierce named new La Sierra administrator
In December 2010, Anjelica Zermeño became La Sierra Charter School’s principal. Previous to this assignment, she had served as an instructional consultant to La Sierra and other Tulare County schools for five years. This summer, Mrs. Zermeño will pass school administration duties to Dr. Scott Pierce, who has worked for Tulare County Office of Education since 2014 both as a curriculum specialist and as principal of a community school.
“When choosing to lead La Sierra, I had a mission to prove everything I ever suggested to teachers and principals as an instructional consultant would work,” she said. “The past ten years at La Sierra have been nothing less than remarkable! At the same time we were saving young lives, we were transforming the school by adding social/emotional supports.”
La Sierra, which includes the middle and high school Military Academy and an independent study program, was created in 2000. Under Mrs. Zermeño’s leadership, the school has received two six-year WASC accreditations, aligned its coursework to UC/CSU A-G requirements, increased graduation rates from approximately 70% to 97.4%, and became a model school recognized by the CSU Chancellor's Office through CAPP, a grant that supports high schools to ensure more students are ready to succeed in college. “What I am most proud of was our ability to transform an entire culture by addressing the whole child through the lens of equity and social justice,” she said. “We provided every child and family an education that gave them their own plan A, B, and C, while at the same time always asking ‘Why not?’”
Mrs. Zermeño will be living one of her dreams, relocating to coastal weather where she will be closer to her college-age children. At the same time, she will be director of two schools in the East Bay area. “I am very thankful to TCOE for being such great cheerleaders, allowing me to be creative and advocate for the kids. I am also extremely excited to hand La Sierra over to my colleague Dr. Scott Pierce, also a former ERS consultant, who will take La Sierra to the next level. I wish him all the best!"
“We appreciate the leadership and vision Anjelica provided La Sierra,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. “The work that she and the staff have done in positively supporting hundreds of students’ social/emotional, character, discipline, and academic development has been immeasurable.”
Dr. Scott Pierce joined TCOE as an ELA/ELD professional development and curriculum specialist at Educational Resource Services (ERS). Previously, he taught English at Mission Oak High School in Tulare. During his time with ERS, he served many of the secondary schools in Tulare County, assisting with the development of curriculum, coaching staff, presenting workshops, and speaking at various literacy and equity conferences in California. In spring 2018, Dr. Pierce took over the administration of Visalia Unified’s Elbow Community School for expelled students and became learning director of community schools within TCOE’s Educational Options program. Due to his extensive research on issues of equity that impact marginalized students, he was invited to join the newly-formed TCOE Equity Design Team last fall.
As the new principal of La Sierra, Dr. Pierce is looking forward to building on the school’s legacy of giving students who did not find the traditional school setting their best option for success a new path to pursue excellence with honor and courage. “I will be focusing on building and strengthening the military culture and building staff and cadet academic intelligence,” he said. “Most importantly, I am looking forward to empowering each staff member and cadet with the tools necessary to succeed.”
Dr. Pierce recently received his Doctorate of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California (USC). His dissertation was titled Quality Literacy Instruction for Incarcerated Youth.
Early Childhood Education Program ready to help families locate child care for upcoming school year
For over 50 years, TCOE’s Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) has assisted families in locating child care in communities throughout the county. This assistance is available for families who meet income requirements for placement of their children, ages 0-12, in many types of home base and center-based programs.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the program’s annual recruitment activities. Dr. Alex Elliott, administrator of ECEP, reports that openings are available in programs throughout the county. “We are standing by to assist families in finding an education setting that is a great fit for them and their children,” she said. “We are ready to help families begin the journey in supporting their children to become life-long learners.”
Parents are encouraged to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a phone message at (559) 651-3026 to have someone contact them about programs available in their community.
TCOE social media platforms increasingly support programs during pandemic
On Friday, the Theatre Company will use TCOE’s YouTube Channel to premiere a new musical entitled The Show Must Go Online! – A Virtual Children’s Musical. The production is the story of students in a school musical who decide that their show shouldn’t be cancelled by restrictions developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. They decide instead they will produce the show's individual scenes in their own homes and share them online.
The Theatre Company’s online production is just one way TCOE programs are utilizing YouTube and social media. Last week, the data team at Leadership Support Services collected six videos to post on its YouTube channel. The videos, available at tcoe.org/youtube/LSS, are recordings of the program’s monthly Zoom presentations to district leadership on leveraging data in the California School Dashboard to impact instruction and student learning. They are housed in the program’s own library of videos to share with educators who may have missed the original broadcast.
“Social media is becoming increasingly important to our organization in sharing information with the public,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. “I encourage employees, district staff, and community members to follow us to receive the latest news and information.”
To see the Theatre Company’s The Show Must Go Online! musical, watch for announcements on Friday on TCOE’s Facebook (TulareCountyOfficeOfEducation), Instagram (TulareCOE), and Twitter (TulareCOE) platforms. Readers may also subscribe to TCOE’s YouTube Channel by visiting tcoe.org/youtube.
Distance Learning Resources
View more events at tcoe.org/CalendarofEvents.
Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Tim A. Hire, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
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