Meet the 2021 CISC Chair Jennifer Hicks, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services at Placer County Office of Education
What does your day to day look like as the chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) and an assistant superintendent for the Placer county office of education?
Lot’s of juggling! Like everyone across the state, educational leaders and agencies are being pulled in many directions and everything has a sense of urgency. I’m finding that a typical day for me includes engaging in statewide initiatives and advocacy, collaboration with state agency partners, working alongside county office partners in my region, and supporting the urgent needs of our sixteen Placer County school districts and many charter schools. What I most enjoy is the opportunity to engage with such diverse, thoughtful and focused educational leaders from across the state.
What led you to your current role at the Placer County Office of Education (PCOE) or to education in general?
I began teaching (first grade) almost 22 years ago in the Sacramento City Unified School District. Teaching was a bit of a career change as I had worked previously as a project/account manager for a large healthcare company. When I began teaching I knew that my goal was to become an administrator and combine my love for students and education with my passion for leadership development and systems change. After teaching elementary school for several years, I earned my Masters degree and Administrative credential and served as an administrator in two districts in the Sacramento region before coming to PCOE. I started at PCOE as the Director of Professional Development and what excited me was the opportunity to develop and strengthen educator preparation programs in the region while also building a strong professional learning culture with our districts.
What are some of the goals or objectives you would like to achieve within CISC this year?
This is an exciting and important time for CISC and through the support of our Executive Committee and Membership I have identified focus areas for our work this year: increasing and expanding collaboration with the other CCSESA Steering Committees, defining and amplifying CISCs role within the System of Support, and deepening our focus on equity and integrating a lens of equity in all that we do.
What is a bright spot / exemplary program in your Steering Committee that would be of interest to other educators?
Last year, CISC General Membership focused conversations and engaged in shared learning around equity. This year, we are building on that work and strengthening our focus on leading for equity through continued professional learning, networking, integration in subcommittee work and revision of our CISC goals. We are thinking deeply about our role as county office leaders in both supporting and facilitating deep equity work with our district partners. Our goal is to develop our skill set and build our capacity to lead this work across the state in our communities and with our students.
What does being a CISC member mean to you?
I remember my first year in CISC, attending as an official member after watching my former Assistant Superintendent, attend for years, thinking, “This is the big league!” Now, 5 years later, I am constantly amazed at what a dedicated, thoughtful, reflective, intelligent, amazing group of educational leaders that I have the privilege of working alongside and learning from. There is such strength in the ability to share and learn with 58 diverse and unique COEs and educational communities from across the state. These are my people!