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The News Gallery

July/August 2012

Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Priscilla Soliz, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Jeanne Croson, Scott Unser, René Moncada, Bob May, Donna Orozco, Mike Franco and Brian Roberts.

The News Gallery is published monthly with the exception of double issues printed for July/August and December/January. If you would like to receive the News Gallery, please contact Jennifer Fisher at jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Big River coming this month with seven shows
Theater Company to perform Tony Award-winning adaptation of Huckleberry Finn

The Theatre Company is preparing for the July 20 opening of its summer musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Tony Award-winning musical is an adaptation of Mark Twain’s much-loved 1884 novel, featuring music and lyrics by American songwriter Roger Miller.

In the musical, as in the book, Huck Finn runs away from his abusive father to live in the wilderness along the Mississippi River. There, he encounters a slave named Jim, who has also run away. Jim is trying to make his way to Ohio, a free state, so he can buy his family’s freedom. El Diamante High School junior Tristan Peck will star as Huck Finn while Fresno actor Harrison Mills will play Jim.

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Big River will be the first production with a set constructed at the Theatre Company’s new workshop in northwest Visalia. Previously, the program used space at the TCOVE facility south of Visalia. “Our new shop is just down the street from our offices,” says Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts. “It affords us the opportunity to take students to try out sets as they are being developed. The convenience of the shop and the work Ronny Jungk and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers did to make the space usable for our set builders has been terrific.”

Many thanks to volunteer electricians Ronny Jungk, Jeff Hall, William Hodge and Doug Sorenson, and to the management at A-C Electric Company for providing equipment to ensure Big River is a huge success this summer!

Photos above:
~ El Diamante High School’s Tristan Peck will play Huck Finn. Harrison Mills will play Jim.
~ Electrician Ronny Jungk helped renovate the Theatre Company’s new Visalia workshop. Visit the
Theatre Company webpage for show times.

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Migrant pours effort into Pre-K Academies
Students receive intensive instruction to prepare for fall kindergarten classes

Migrant Education Program's Pre-K Academies Preschool children in Shameen Rayani’s classroom at Doyle Elementary in Porterville play a donut game - adding and subtracting colored, felt donuts from a board. They earn an opportunity to visit the “bakery” and select a donut by correctly answering Ms. Rayani’s questions about the quantity on the board. The students are actively engaged, shouting out the answers. Next door in Yolanda Rosales’ room, children are eagerly identifying letters, colors and objects.

Migrant Education Program's Pre-K Academies Several weeks ago, this type of accurate student response would not have been as prevalent. The children, who were selected for Migrant Education’s Pre-K Academy, are being given intensive instruction in language arts and math concepts they will need in kindergarten this fall. Migrant’s School Readiness Coordinator Karina Lara reports that assessments conducted early in the program indicated that only nine of the 30 children enrolled had any knowledge of the alphabet. While the data was “eye-opening,” Ms. Lara is impressed with the teachers’ ability to jump right in and deliver the instruction children need to build their academic readiness skills. With help from teachers and aides, the children are also learning to develop journals with stories and illustrations of their own.

Migrant Education Program's Pre-K Academies The journals integrate well with the School Readiness Program’s goal of promoting family literacy. Mrs. Rayani’s classroom has a small lending library from which students borrow books to take home. “One of the major goals of the program is increasing family literacy and reinforcing parents’ role as their child’s first teacher,” says Ms. Lara. The combination of the Academy’s intensive instruction and empowered parents sets the course for these children to find success in kindergarten and beyond.

Photos above:
~ Yolanda Rosales works with picture and color recognition, ...
~ ... while Shameen Rayani helps children with math concepts.
~ School Readiness Coordinator Karina Lara accepts work from children who are excited to be learning the alphabet.

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49 retire with 1,000 years of combined service
Annual Human Resources reception honors retirees including Ceballos, Nava and Rankin

The Human Resources Division held its annual retiree reception last month, honoring 49 men and women who retired during the past school year. Together, the retirees gave TCOE programs and their students more than 1,000 years of service. Among them were three assistant superintendents – Dr. Pansy Ceballos of the Instructional Services Division, Dr. Marilyn Rankin of the Special Services Division, and Jeanne Nava of the Human Resources Division. (Ms. Nava was profiled in the
June 2012 News Gallery.) County Superintendent Jim Vidak began the ceremony by honoring the three women.

Dr. Marilyn Rankin Dr. Marilyn Rankin is retiring as the assistant superintendent of Special Services, a position she has held since 1980. Marilyn was hired in 1974, having served as a teacher for Visalia Unified. She has been responsible for overseeing the division’s many programs – from Court/Community Schools and Severely Handicapped Programs to Assistive Technology and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs. “The thing we have appreciated most about Marilyn is her vision to see opportunities to create services to better serve the students of Tulare County,” Mr. Vidak said. “She has ‘pushed the envelope’ to build unique programs such as the Parent Liaison Service, in-home services for students with autism, Children’s Mental Health and Therapeutic Services, and Infant Services. All of these programs were designed to build supportive relationships with Tulare County school districts and the families of the students we serve.”

Dr. Pansy Ceballos Dr. Pansy Ceballos has served as the assistant superintendent of Instructional Services since 2003. She began her education career in Tulare County as a seventh-grade teacher. In 1977, she came to TCOE. Since then, she has served as a resource teacher, educational consultant, and program manager for the Choices Prevention Programs. In her tenure as assistant superintendent, Pansy has helped guide the charter process for University Preparatory High School (which opened in 2009) and the creation of the Choices After School Program (which opened in 2007). She is proud of the work Educational Resource Services and its instructional consultants have done to raise the academic achievement levels of Tulare County schools. Mr. Vidak honored Dr. Ceballos saying, “Pansy, we appreciate the work you have done to build the Instructional Services Division into a cohesive and truly innovative service unit that supports student achievement and youth development.”
2011/2012 Retirees
Bruce Adams - 15 years
Victoria Aguil - 35 years
Jeralyn Aldrich - 4 years
Scott Aldrich - 35 years
Eduardo Ayala - 22 years
Magdalena Balderas - 24 years
Yolanda Benevides - 32 years
Patricia Camarda - 18 years
Lupe Campos - 28 years
Pansy Ceballos - 35 years
Emma Chavez - 20 years
Ray Chavez - 16 years
Sylvia Coats - 14 years
Gary Cordell - 19 years
Virgie Dewitt - 14 years
Alfredo Espanta - 20 years
Linda Fowler - 32 years
Deborah Ganzfried - 31 years
Jesus Garcia - 15 years
Irma Gomes - 16 years
Melanie Hammond - 24 years
Cheryl Hinton - 41 years
Lori Hoskins - 15 years
Rosie Huerta - 23 years
Marie Logan - 17 years
Louise McGrew - 16 years
Elizabeth Mendoza - 34 years
Frances Molina - 30 years
Carol Mosconi - 37 years
Jeanne Nava - 19 years
Ruben Ortiz - 31 years
Crescencia Pascua - 27 years
Diane Pallanes - 10 years
Tom Phillips - 12 years
Emma Ramos - 12 years
Marilyn Rankin - 38 years
Maria Rhoden - 18 years
Patricia Rickert - 7 years
Raul Rios - 16 years
Janet Rogers - 38 years
Susan Rosas - 17 years
Sandra Sartuche - 13 years
Sheryl Sawatsky - 17 years
Susan Scott - 31 years
Lois Sheffield - 33 years
Margarita Solis - 28 years
Linda Stewart - 46 years
Carlyn Turner - 24 years
Lynda Waddle - 16 years

Photos above:
~ Dr. Marilyn Rankin will be retiring as assistant superintendent of Special Services with 38 years of service.
~ Jim Vidak adjusts the mic as Dr. Pansy Ceballos expresses her appreciation for her 35-year tenure in the Instructional Services Division, culminating in nine years as the assistant superintendent.

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Spotlight Dr. Marilyn Rankin, assistant superintendent of Special Services and Kaye van Gilluwe, Student Support Services administrator congratulate Susanna Munoz, who graduated from the L.B. Hill Learning Center program. Susanna, who plans to work with the Porterville Sheltered Workshop, was among 19 graduates from programs in the Porterville area. Throughout the county, 45 young adults graduated from Special Services center-based or community-based programs.

Spotlight Instructional Consultant Connie Smith has been chosen to serve as the new administrator for the Child Care Educational Program. Ms. Smith has been an English Language Arts instructional consultant for the Educational Resource Services program since 1999. As an instructional consultant, she has worked directly with school districts to help them increase their student achievement. She has also helped to facilitate the Child Care Leadership for Learning Committee, which has been working to align the program’s curriculum, assessment and staff qualifications with the School Readiness Act.

Spotlight Lois Sheffield (l) contracts manager for Connections for Quality Care (CQC), is retiring after 32 years of service at the Tulare County Office of Education. Lois began as the Resource & Referral coordinator in 1980. A few years later, she assumed responsibility for the alternative payment programs (such as CalWorks), which paid licensed providers to care for low-income children — serving 3,500 children at its peak. As a former day-care provider, Lois plans to continue teaching child development classes at COS. Lois is pictured with Karen Osborn (r), who has been selected as the new CQC program manager. Karen has served the program since 1990.

Spotlight Special Services’ secretaries Pam Malloy (l) and Myrna Garcia (r) are carpooling to work from Tulare and enjoying the gas savings. Their efforts to cut the number of employee-based trips to work is exactly the kind of thing the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District hopes that large employers will encourage. TCOE is a Healthy Air Living Partner with the Valley Air District and has committed to promoting trip-reducing practices. For information on starting a carpool with a coworker at the Doe Avenue or Burrel sites, visit

Spotlight La Sierra Military Academy held its annual graduation on June 6. The school graduated 29 students from the Military Academy and Independent Studies Programs.

Spotlight University Preparatory High School (UPHS) held its first graduation on May 29. The charter school, founded in 2009 and located on the College of the Sequoias campus, graduated 12 students. Salutatorian Matthew Princesa leads his classmates in turning their tassels from right to left as UPHS Learning Director Rudy Torres applauds. Principal John Kelly reports that enrollment at the rigorous college preparatory high school is approaching 200 students for the 2012-2013 school year.

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Gallery Notes

Tulare County students, ages 6-14, are invited to submit their most creative lunchtime recipes for the 5th Annual Kids Cook-Off to be held Saturday, September 22 at the Visalia Home Expo. Recipes must include two distinct menu items. Finalists will be selected in advance and invited to prepare their recipes in person for a panel of judges at the Home Expo. Recipes are due by September 9 and can be submitted online at

Dates for 2012-2013 Tulare County student events are now on the Calendar of Events at www.tcoe.org. These events range from College Night and Expanding Your Horizons in the fall to the Spelling Championship and Science Fair in the spring. For a copy of the student event brochure, call Robert Herman at (559) 733-6606.

Each year, the Tulare County Council on Child & Youth Development seeks to recognize local businesses with child-friendly practices through the Business and Children Award. Nominations for the 2012 Business and Children Award will be accepted until September 13. More information can be found at www.tularecountykids.org. Winners of the Business and Children Award will be recognized at the annual Legislative Breakfast scheduled for 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 4 at the Holiday Inn, Visalia.

Tulare County began offering on-site health screenings to interested employees (including part-time employees) in 2009. The free, confidential screenings have been open to employees, spouses, and dependents over the age of 19. Staff from The Health and Weight Clinic check total cholesterol, blood pressure and pulse, blood glucose, BMI (Body Mass Index) and other key readings. This year a jackpot winner was selected each day and at each screening location. Congratulations to the winners: Nariman Ajluni, Amanda Calderon-Lopez, Esther Galindo, Yvonne Garcia, Robert May, Karen Morgan, Bryan Patterson, Claudia Ramos, Nani Rowland, Roxie Smith, Brenda Stevens, Paul Vivas and Thomas Wright. For future health screening dates, call Jeanne Croson at (559) 733-6322.

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Tim A. Hire, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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