Skip To Content

CCSESA Newsletter2021

FebruaryVolume 19 / Issue 2

Meet our CCSESA Superintendents...

Barry Simpson Inyo County Superintendent of Schools

  • What led you to a career in education?

    To be honest, right out of college I was heading towards a career in banking. After receiving my degree in Economics from Whittier College I went to work for a small regional bank. I quickly learned that this wasn’t my calling. Trying to figure out what I really wanted to do, I began substitute teaching. I have some great substitute teaching stories, but what really led me to education was a long term substitute teaching position at Hope Elementary School District in Tulare County. It was a 3rd grade classroom assignment and most of the students were English Learners from migrant farm worker families. 

    It was the tradition in this particular classroom to sing a song from the song book at the end of each school day. On this particular day, the students chose, California Here We Come! I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t tear up hearing those little voices cheerfully singing along to the record player. That was it, I was hooked!

    What is something fellow County Superintendents may not know about you?

    One thing my fellow County Superintendents might not know about me is that I signed my first Superintendent Contract at age 28. Way too young! But, with some very patient board members and some great mentors I was able to have some success.

    What are some aspects that you love about your job as a County Superintendent of Inyo county?

    Having spent the last 20+ years of my professional career here in Inyo County, I think the thing I love most is working with young Superintendents and Administrators. Being able to mentor our future educational leaders is exciting.

    “I also must admit, this is my dream job, being able to serve the students in the same county where I attended school is such an incredible privilege.”


    What are some objectives you would like to achieve in the next few years?

    Like everyone else my major objective right now is putting Covid-19 in the rearview mirror and getting our students back in school. But specifically, our focus over the next few years will be expanding counseling services, increasing pre-school and early childhood education options in Inyo County, and the completion of our Adult Education center/collaboration with our local community college. 

  • Barry Simpson PPE

    What is a bright spot / exemplary program in your county that would be of interest to others in education?

    I can’t take any credit for this, but one great program happening in Inyo is the Eastern Sierra Watershed Project (ESWP),  a countywide, middle school science education program organized around the historic re-watering of the Lower Owens River. Middle school science teachers throughout Inyo County met with local scientists and land managers to create a curriculum to introduce their students to watersheds, watershed monitoring, data collection, and the management of water resources. Through partnerships with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Bureau of Land Management, California Fish and Wildlife, the Bishop Paiute Tribe, and the Inyo County Office of Education. ESWP expanded its field study programs to provide field science opportunities for grades 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8. This program, under the leadership of the Inyo County Office of Education, is able to continue to thrive and reach new generations of Owens Valley students through generous grant funding by the Branson Family Foundation and BLM Hands on the Land program, and the efforts of many, many dedicated volunteers. 

Leadership Link

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!


Save the date – June 11th Educator Recruitment and Retention Symposium 2.0

One of the most pressing issues facing California schools, legislators, policymakers, and families is how to staff our classrooms with a stable teaching workforce. Reserve your calendar on June 11th from 10 am-1 pm for a peer-to-peer follow-up roundtable event bringing together state, county, and district professionals in education to network, learn and discuss current issues, and share best practices and successful applications of previous grant funding.

CCSESA Promotes FCC using funds to support distance learning

CCSESA and others filed comments to the FCC promoting the use of E-Rate program funds to support distance learning. CCSESA’s Technology Steering Committee offered invaluable technical expertise with regards to the framing and letter recommendations. The Education and Library Networks Coalition, of which our national affiliate AESA is also a partner, also filed a letter for public comment.

Thank You To Our Business Sponsors