go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage

The News Gallery

December 2018 / January 2019

View and print a pdf version of this News Gallery.
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Kelley Petty, Paula Terrill, Nan Arnold, Shantall Porchia, Donna Glassman-Sommer, and Marvin Lopez.

The News Gallery is published monthly with the exception of double issues printed for July/August and December/January. To receive the News Gallery, visit www.tcoe.org/GetTheGallery, or contact Jennifer Fisher at jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172.

The Vision and the Visionary event

The Vision & the Visionary  – a fitting tribute
Fundraising event honors Jim Vidak, builds support for UC Merced/SCICON Field Station

Over 550 guests at Jim Vidak’s retirement celebration, held November 17 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, enjoyed a social hour of hors d’oeuvres and refreshments before the evening’s first surprise marched into the hall. As emcee Connie Conway began to welcome guests to the party, the Orosi High School drum major cued a drum cadence. Members of the band and the color guard quickly assembled into formation to play New Colonial March. The tune was instantly familiar to Orosi High School alumni Jim Vidak, who rose to his feet, putting his hand on his heart. The Orosi color guard twirled rifles and O-R-O-S-I letters as the audience clapped along.

The Vision and the Visionary event

The Vision and the Visionary event Following the band’s performance, Ms. Conway welcomed the audience to The Vision & the Visionary: A Night to Celebrate Science & Service, explaining that the event was designed to honor Mr. Vidak and raise additional funds for the new UC Merced/SCICON Field Station. Ms. Conway thanked the Field Station sponsors, who cumulatively have donated over $200,000 to the project. The three top sponsors – EECU, the Porterville Breakfast Rotary Club, and Fred and Mitzie Ruiz – along with J.D. Heiskell & Co. and the Hillman Family were recognized for their support. Ms. Conway also recognized Dr. Donna FitzRoy Hardy, former owner of the property where the Field Station is being built. Dr. Hardy donated over $250,000 in equity as part of the purchase agreement with TCOE. She also donated three of the cars auctioned off later in the evening.

The Vision and the Visionary event

After dinner, Mr. Vidak and guests enjoyed entertainment from current and former members of the TCOE Theatre Company, plus remarks from former Theatre Company director Brian Roberts, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and Ruiz Foods co-founder, Fred Ruiz. Funding for the UC Merced/SCICON Field Station got a big boost when auctioneer Jon Dolieslager took to the stage to auction ten items, which included a Louis Vuitton purse, a 2009 Maserati Quatrroporte, a designer diamond necklace, and a week’s stay at a luxury vacation house in Maui. Former Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services Dr. Lupe Solis placed the winning bid for the 1960 Chevrolet Apache pickup.

The Vision and the Visionary event

Following the live auction, Ms. Conway joked with the audience, “Many of you brought some extra money tonight, but didn’t have a chance to spend it in our auction.” Smiling, she said, “We have a way to help you with that! Jim tells me that he wants to fund student summer internships at the Field Station. To do that, he wants to build a fund to give Tulare County students interested in studying the environmental sciences a job for the summer.” Ms. Conway started by asking the audience for $2,000. Several attendees raised their bid numbers. “How about $1,000? Who will give me $1,000 to fund student internships?” Several more attendees raised their bid numbers. As she called out $500 and then $100, more guests pledged to support the internship program. At the end of her appeal, the crowd had pledged nearly $25,000 to summer internships at the new Field Station.

The Vision and the Visionary event

Following remarks from Sacramento legislative advocate Dr. Jeff Frost and Mr. Vidak’s administrative assistant, Marlene Moreno, the audience enjoyed a video about Jim Vidak’s 28 years of service as Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. Connie Conway returned to the stage to introduce honoree Jim Vidak. Citing his many awards and accomplishments, she said, “You’ve seen the vision; now let’s meet the visionary.”

The Vision and the Visionary event

Jim Vidak closed the program by thanking his family, many of the guests in attendance, and the staff that organized the event. “I love Tulare County. I love my job. I love the people I work with and I love all of you. Thanks for this very special night. We have a saying around TCOE. You’ve heard me say it many times. ‘We’re not done yet.’” Wishing the audience a safe trip home, Mr. Vidak exited the stage as What a Wonderful World played.

The Vision and the Visionary event “It was a wonderful event,” said Mr. Vidak. “And thanks to everyone who donated to the auction and the raffles, and those who pledged to support the summer internships, we added an additional $90,000 for the Field Station.” Mr. Vidak also reported that funds left by late Tulare County Board of Education trustee Burke Thompson for the purpose of benefitting the SCICON program will be added to the fundraising total. Mr. Thompson’s gift to the project amounted to more than $107,000.

For more information on supporting the summer internship program at the UC Merced/SCICON Field Station, please call Marlene Moreno at (559) 733-6302.

Photos above:
~ During dinner, Jim and Bobbie Vidak enjoyed entertainment provided by current and former members of the Theatre Company.
~ The Orosi High School band kicked off the program, surprising Jim Vidak, an alumni of the school.
~ UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland spoke to the crowd, praising Jim Vidak for his commitment to environmental education, which resulted in the partnership between the university and TCOE’s SCICON Program.
~ (l-r) Bryce Huckabay, Jack O’Leary and Steven Braswell perform a selection from Rancho Tesoro, a musical written by former Theatre Company director Brian Roberts, who was hired by Jim Vidak when he created the program in 1998.
~ Auctioneer Jon Dolieslager conducted a live auction of ten items, including four cars. Emcee Connie Conway assisted with the auction, which netted the Field Station project over $58,000.
~ One of the cars included in the live auction was a 1949 Chevrolet Styleline, donated by Dr. Donna FitzRoy Hardy.
~ Guests had an opportunity to buy tickets for a Chance Raffle conducted by the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation. The Chance Raffle featured 15 items, including a chicken coop donated by Heiskell’s Feed Depot.
~ Following a video highlighting his career, Jim Vidak closed the program, thanking over 550 guests for coming to support him and the UC Merced/SCICON Field Station.

to Top of Page

Virtual job fair held for California teachers
Over 3,000 attend online fair hosted by TCOE's California Center on Teaching Careers

This week, over 3,000 teachers and teacher candidates entered the grand lobby of a virtual convention center to find signs welcoming them to the California Fall 2018 Virtual Teaching Fair. A click on the “employers” banner took online attendees to a convention center mezzanine with a beautiful panoramic city view. Dozens of school district and county office of education booths were available to scroll through. Friendly virtual representatives stood at the booths, customized with each agency’s logos and marketing information. Much like the real job fair, online attendees could stop at booths, view the available job offerings and chat with district representatives. If the district was interested in conducting a job interview, a representative could set up a video chat with the candidate.

Virtual Teacher Fair

The virtual job fair was organized by the Tulare County Office of Education’s California Center on Teaching Careers (The Center) to connect aspiring and credentialed teachers with education agencies. The four-day job fair, held November 27-30, was the first of several online job fairs that will continue into 2019 for teaching positions in the current and upcoming school years. As the state’s only virtual job fair for educators, The Center’s fall fair linked potential teachers from the Golden State and elsewhere in the world with job opportunities in California agencies and districts currently hiring.

The Center Executive Director Donna Glassman-Sommer reports that 80 California districts and county offices of education participated in the first virtual job fair, including Visalia Unified, Tulare City School District, Tulare Joint Union High School District, and Woodlake Unified School District. Additionally, 20 California universities and teacher preparation programs participated in the virtual job fair, offering teacher candidates information on their credentialing programs. The fair was open four hours each day and also featured a variety of online presentations on topics that included credentials, utilizing The Center’s website, preparing for an interview, applying for a California teaching job with an out-of-state credential, credential tracking, teacher preparation pathways, and more. Ms. Glassman-Sommer reports that during the first two days of the virtual fair, participants from five continents made over 14,000 visits to the educational booths and engaged in over 9,000 one-to-one chats with agency representatives.

“As educators, we have to do business differently to attract people to the field,” said Ms. Glassman-Sommer. “That means everything from old-fashioned word of mouth to employing technologies young people are comfortable using. It’s up to all of us to think about people we know who would make a great teacher, advocate for the profession and connect them to resources like The Center.”

The November virtual job fair marks another step by The Center to elevate the teaching profession and to minimize the statewide teacher shortage. Since TCOE was awarded the $5 million grant by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to create The Center in 2016, much work has been done. The Center began by developing six regional satellite centers through the county offices of education in Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sonoma, Ventura, and Shasta counties. The interactive vortal californiateach.org, which hosted the virtual job fair, now connects candidates and educational agencies much like match.com.

“With three-quarters of all California school districts reporting difficulties in recruiting teachers, the innovative approach of the virtual job fair helps keep up with changing recruitment methods,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “It eliminates geographic barriers so that candidates can explore teaching options in their community and across California from the convenience of their phone or laptop. And, it enables education agencies to connect directly with candidates, conduct online job interviews, and provide personalized credentialing guidance.”

California educational agencies interested in participating in one of the upcoming 2019 virtual job fairs are encouraged to connect with The Center by visiting
californiateach.org, or by contacting Donna Glassman-Sommer at donnags@tcoe.org.

Photo above:
~ Visitors to the virtual job fair for teachers found 80 California district and county office of education booths and engaged in over 14,000 one-to-one chats with education agency representatives in the first two days of the four-day fair. The fair was hosted on the California Center on Teaching Careers’ website, californiateach.org, which connects teachers and teacher candidates with education agencies much like match.com.

to Top of Page

HeartSaver adult, child CPR classes offered
School Health Programs to offer five 2019 CPR trainings for TCOE and district personnel

On January 24, credentialed school nurses from TCOE’s School Health Programs will conduct an American Heart Association Basic HeartSaver CPR class. The class is open to TCOE and school district employees for a fee of $60 per person.

“Each year, thousands of people, including youth, die of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Nan Arnold, program manager for School Health Programs. “Statistics show that the odds of saving a life improve if you are able to recognize cardiac arrest, get emergency care on the way quickly, and help the person until more advanced care arrives to take over.”

Additional classes are offered in 2019 on February 21, March 21, April 25, and May 16. Classes are limited to 12 individuals and registration is required. Please contact Margarita Quintana by e-mail at
mquintana@tcoe.org or call (559) 651-0130, Ext. 3730 for more information.

to Top of Page

Holiday Open House set for December 13
Open house planned as celebration for retiring County Superintendent of Schools Vidak

Employees and community members are invited to drop by the Tulare County Office of Education Conference Center on Thursday, December 13 for a Holiday Open House. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with retiring Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and enjoy a variety of video presentations on his career.

The Holiday Open House will be held from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m. A variety of food trucks and booths will be on hand with foods and desserts available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the Migrant Education Program’s toy drive and to leave a special message for Mr. Vidak on notecards available at the event.

For more information on the Holiday Open House, please contact Marlene Moreno at (559) 733-6302.

to Top of Page


Spotlight on People The Migrant Education Program’s 2nd Annual Regional Parent Conference was held on November 7 at the Wyndham Hotel in Visalia. Approximately 90 Tulare and Kings county parents attended. This year’s theme was The History of the Migrant Education Program, which provided parents with information tracing the initial stages of the program and how it has progressed over time. Several parents were recognized, including the 2018 Farmworker Woman of the Year, Josefina Garcia, who poses with Migrant Education Program Manager Shantall Porchia (l) and Administrator Tony Velásquez (r).

Spotlight on People On November 1, 36 students were honored at the annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Provident/Salierno Family Foundation Awards. The students were selected from nearly 5,600 nominations received from 131 schools throughout Tulare County during CHARACTER COUNTS! Week. Among them was Alejandro Diaz, a junior at Mt. Whitney High School (MWHS), who was the top honoree for the Pillar of Caring. Alejandro was nominated by MWHS Health Science Academy teacher Tim Perrotta for his volunteer work as a recreational specialist this past summer at Quail Park Senior Care Facility. To read the stories of all the students honored at the Provident/Salierno Family Foundation Awards, visit
tcoe.org/KidsofCharacter. Alejandro will also be featured in the December 16 presentation of ABC30’s latest Children First special, entitled Healthy Choices. The program will focus on how adults can help children make healthier and happier choices that benefit them in physical, mental, social or financial ways. The program will also feature a story about the Tulare County Youth Council and its work to support families in need during the holidays.

Spotlight on People Over 800 young women, grades 4-10, attended the annual Expanding Your Horizons conference at College of the Sequoias (COS) Visalia campus on Saturday, November 3. The conference is held to introduce young women to career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students visited dozens of breakout sessions conducted by women working in STEM fields.

Jody Arriaga, accounting officer (below left), has been selected as the new director of Internal Business Services. With nearly 18 years of experience with Internal Business, Mrs. Arriaga will assume leadership of the department following Patty Blaswich’s retirement on December 28. Ms. Blaswich has worked for Internal Business Services since 1993. Spotlight on People In the Human Resources Division, Sara Marvin (above, right) has been promoted to credentials and retirement analyst. Mrs. Marvin has worked in the credentials department since September 2013 and is helping to fill the void left by Enid Brinkman, the former credentials and retirement supervisor who retired last month with over 40 years of service.

Spotlight on People Marlene Moreno, administrative assistant to the county superintendent of schools, was honored by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) at the President’s Celebration/Awards Dinner held last month in San Diego. Ms. Moreno was honored as the state Confidential Employee of the Year, along with 25 other administrators working as principals, superintendents, curriculum leaders and special education administrators.

Spotlight on People In October, the Bright Start Parent-Infant Program was presented with the annual Impact Award from the Tulare County Council on Child & Youth Development. Ron Pekerak (center) accepted the award along with Bright Start staff members from the program’s centers in Visalia, Porterville and Yettem. The program currently partners with the Central Valley Regional Center to serve nearly 1,000 Tulare County children who have a variety of developmental delays.

Spotlight on People The annual Student Art Exhibition is on display in the lobby of the TCOE Administration Building at 6200 South Mooney Boulevard in Visalia through March 29. Through the end of December, the exhibition features artwork from schools in Tulare County districts A-P, including a piece entitled Eeyore by Cohen Cotton, a ninth grader at Monache High School in Porterville. From January 22 through February 22, visitors will be treated to artwork from schools in Tulare County districts R-W. In March, pieces selected as "Best of Show" from the November-December and January-February exhibitions will be displayed. A public open house honoring the “Best of Show” student artists will be held 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on March 6 in the lobby. For more information, contact Kate Stover, visual and performing arts staff development and curriculum specialist, at (559) 741-0809.

to Top of Page

Gallery Notes

University Preparatory High School (UPHS) will hold its annual Music Showcase in the College of the Sequoias Theater in Visalia, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. Students in all choir and guitar classes will perform, as well as those in the school’s popular handbell ensemble. For more information on attending the Music Showcase, call UPHS at (559) 730-2529.

The 2018 Red Ribbon committee is pleased to report that $5,000 was raised from activities held during the annual event in October. Red Ribbon Committee chairperson Jennifer Fisher would like to thank the committee members, generous donors and staff who participated in the week’s activities. The proceeds from the event will be donated to the new UC Merced/SCICON Field Station. For their $5,000 donation, the employees of the Tulare County Office of Education will be recognized on a plaque at the site of the new Field Station, along with numerous other supporters. More information, including a list of raffle winners, can be found at

The Tulare County Farm Bureau has announced “Tulare County Agriculture: Full STEAM Ahead” as the theme of its annual Student Calendar Art Contest. This year's theme encourages students to express how agriculture can be used to teach STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) subjects. Students have until February 15 to complete and deliver their artwork for the 2019-20 calendar. Details of the competition are posted on the Bulletin Board section of www.tulcofb.org. The contest is annually sponsored by the Tulare County Farm Bureau and the Tulare County Office of Education.

During the month of December, the Migrant Education Program will be holding a holiday toy drive. TCOE employees are encouraged to purchase new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to local migrant children. Drop-off boxes are available in the lobby and breakrooms of the TCOE Administration Building and in the breakroom adjacent to Suite A at the Doe Avenue Complex. Toys will be accepted until Friday, December 14. For more information, please contact the Migrant Education Program at (559) 651-3035.

to Top of Page

For a list of upcoming events,
visit our
Calendar of Events web page.

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

| Home Page | Site Index |

Please direct web site problems or comments to tcoeweb@tcoe.org.

Copyright © 2019, Tulare County Office of Education