Celebrating 33 Years in the Special Education Department at Colusa County Office of Education

Image of Kim TackettTell us about where you grew up, your family, and why you came to work for CCOE.
I grew up as an Air Force brat, so I lived all over the United States when I was growing up. I attended 11 schools between Kindergarten and finishing High School, so I have a lot of empathy for our migrant students!

I’ve been married to my husband for 36 years and have a step-daughter and step-son – both grown and out on their own. I am blessed to still have both of my parents and also have two younger brothers in a very close-knit family.

I came to work for Colusa County in 1987 when my husband and I decided to move to Northern California from the Reno area. I had gone to school at Chico State for my Speech Pathology Master’s program, and missed the experience of living in a smaller town.

Tell us about your role at CCOE.
I work for the Special Education Department as a Speech and Language Specialist and have been employed here for 33 years. When I started, I was the youngest Speech Therapist in the county and now I’m the oldest!

I love my job, which is why I continue working, even given the less than optimal circumstances we are facing right now. I always knew that I wanted to work with children in the school setting and love to see the growth they can make with the help we give them. I’ve worked here so long that I’ve had the opportunity to work with children of some of my former students. I always joked that when I started working with grandchildren of former students, I would know it was time to retire. It obviously hasn’t happened yet!

What do you most appreciate about your department/team?
I appreciate so much working with our Special Education team including our director, office staff, teachers, school psychologists and other DIS support staff. I’m especially fortunate to work with an amazing group of fellow Speech Therapists who are always willing to share knowledge and support. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.

What is your proudest moment at CCOE?
That’s a difficult one -- there are lots of stories. One time I remember that a former student came to visit me while he was on a break from college. This over 6-foot-tall young man walked into my speech room at the end of a school day, and asked if I remembered him. It took a moment, but then I realized who it was, and that he had been in speech therapy with me when he was in preschool and kindergarten. He came to share with me that he was on his college debate team, and wanted to thank me for helping him with his speech delay when he was young. That was so cool and it made my day!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love camping and going to the coast, although we haven’t been doing much of that lately! I spend a lot of time walking my dog, and listening to audiobooks. I also enjoy baking and spending time with my own family and church family.

What is something many people may not know about you?
I was born in Kyoto, Japan. My dad was stationed there when he wrote home and asked my Mom to marry him. After they were married, and my mom joined him in Japan, I appeared 11 months later! When I was young, probably around 8 or 9, my Dad taught me how to count to 10 in Japanese, and I still remember it!

If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
Jesus – because I believe he is the personification of unconditional love!

Thank you for your 33 years of love and support to your students, Kim. Colusa County families are lucky to have you!

Image of Dolores GomezDolores Gomez - Celebrating 37 Years of Service

Tell us about where you grew up, your family, and why you came to work for CCOE.

I was born in Mexico and came to College City when I was 7 years old and I have lived here in this county (Arbuckle) for 50 years. My dad was a farm worker with the “Bracero” program in the 50s and 60s and in the early 70s he brought his family with him. I am the youngest of eight children, two have passed and 6 of us still live in this area (one in Sacramento). My mom passed away 14 years ago and my dad is still alive at 92 years of age.  I am married to Abel Gomez and we have 6 children, Fabian, Abel Jr., Adrian, Emily, Adam and Levi, they range from 37 to 5 years of age (the 5 year old came as a gift from life) and I have 4 grandchildren (one in Heaven). I attended college while working for CCOE – Children’s Services and while raising a family, not easy but very rewarding. My daughter, Emily, has followed my footsteps and is getting her degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently an associate teacher at one of our centers.

 started working for CCOE in 1983 at the age of 20 as a Family Advocate at the Williams Children’s Center. I worked seasonal for two years, and then I was offered a transfer to begin the Resource and Referral Program for what is now Children’s Services, in early 1985. And like they say, the rest is history, but not really, I have had many jobs within the agency and have managed to move from a Family Advocate, to a Coordinator, to an Area Manager and now a Division Director. Often I am asked if it is boring to do the same thing year after year, and my answer is no, it is never the same and there are always new challenges and changes that come from our funding sources. I have always said that the day I become stale I will retire, well that day has not come! However I do plan to retire in a year or two.

Tell us about your role at CCOE.
In my position, I supervise and oversee various programs that help families in search of child care and many times needing subsidies to pay for the childcare. I am also in charge of all the training for our child care providers ranging from the business aspect of operating their own business, to teaching them CPR and First Aid, Preventative Health Practices and Trauma Informed Care. So, I like to think that directly I touch the providers and I know I have contributed to their quality of care and their success as business owners. And indirectly I would like to think that I have touched thousands of children that have benefited from any one of our programs in one way or another. My biggest satisfaction in my work life is when people in the community tell me they remember me and how our programs helped them when they needed child care. I have and still do, love what I do!

What do you most appreciate about your department/team?
How we touch the lives of not just the children, but their families and their caretakers. I have always called our department a one-stop-shop and we really are because if you are looking for childcare or want to provide child care we can help.

What is your proudest moment at CCOE? 
I have many, but I think that my proudest moment in CCOE is when my daughter, Emily, joined our team to teach our little ones.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to crochet, garden, play cards with my dad and spend time with family.

What is something many people may not know about you?
Not much, I am an “open book”, I share the good, the bad and the ugly, so people can learn from my achievements, mistakes and life experiences.

If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
My dad’s parents as they passed away before I was born.

Thank you, Dolores, for your dedication to CCOE and the Colusa County community for 37 Years!

In the Spotlight Image

Alejandra Lopez - Prevention Services CoordinatorImage of Alejandra Lopez
During COVID-19, Alejandra continued the monthly district liaison meetings to determine the types of supports district liaisons are requiring. Communication protocols were shared with district liaisons, so they could continue to communicate with foster and homeless youth.

Educational Services purchased 250 backpacks and school supplies to equip the schools with. The backpacks were purchased in order to be distributed to school districts for McKinney-Vento students. All districts have received backpacks, including Children’s services. During early May, Zoom trainings were conducted with teachers, counselors, and secretaries to better inform them on McKinney-Vento and Foster Youth Basics. In addition, a resource guide was created with community resources for families, and it has been posted on the CCOE website.

More about Alejandra...
Alejandra Lopez provides technical assistance to all Colusa County school districts for the Foster and McKinney-Vento programs and continuously works to strengthen community relations to better address the needs of our students. Alejandra is a proficient trainer and has provided trainings to educators, support staff and local agencies on the educational rights of foster and homeless children and youth as well as best practices to ensure equitable educational opportunities for them.

Prior to working with CCOE, Alejandra worked as the Office Coordinator for Woodland High School and Child Advocate at Empower Yolo’s safe house for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Alejandra is originally from Huron, CA a rural community in Fresno County, and is the proud daughter of farmworkers.

Alejandra earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and is an invaluable Team Member. Her dedication to the Colusa County community has been an example of professional excellence and her leadership skills are evident in these trying COVID-19 times. Thank you Alejandra for your continued support to Colusa County students!

Alex Evans - Celebrating 20 Years of Service
Image of Alex EvansTell us about where you grew up, your family, and why you came to work for CCOE. 
Education has always been a huge part of my life. I spent most of my grade school years in Olivehurst, California. My mother was an Alternative High School Teacher when I was in grade school who later became a Special Education / Alternative Education Administrator for Esparto and Marysville. While attending High School, I took a Public Speaking class together with my father at Yuba College as he went back later in life to complete his Associates Degree. During my sophomore year, we moved to Yuba City, but thankfully I was able to finish with my friends at Lindhurst High School as part of the class of 1994. 

After High School, I attended Yuba College where I found my future career in Information Technology (IT). I took an internship at Yuba College which later turned into a part time job as Teacher’s Aid / Lab Assistant for the Business Division. There I learned how to apply the fundamentals of computer networking. While working at Yuba College, I had a few other part time computer jobs. I worked for a local computer shop called PC-Install-IT and part time for Cal-Trans in the IT Department. I also earned a IT certification as a “Certified Novell Engineer”. After 2 years of working at Yuba College, I was very excited to join the Colusa County Office of Education team as a Technology Coordinator at the age of 23. After working at CCOE for a few years, I met the love of my life and got married to my wife, Shenise. After getting married, I finished my Bachelor of Arts degree online in Organizational Management at Ashford University. We now have two children, Zander who is an excited 2nd grader and Avery who can’t wait to get into Kindergarten! 

Tell us about your role at CCOE and how it supports CCOE programs. 
For the past 7 years, I have been the Director of Technology for the CCOE Technology Department. I am very proud of my department, how we operate and the services that we provide for CCOE and the districts.  The role of the CCOE Technology Department is to help enhance other departments. Our job is to help staff and students do their jobs more efficiently. We walk a fine line between trying to cost effectively provide solutions that improve the workplace while keeping all of the equipment and training current. We give students and staff the best resources to shape their futures in an everchanging world. 

Our department has changed so much over the years with wonderful people doing great things for our community. As people come and go, they all contribute in ways that make it better. I am incredibly proud of Kyle who is the other half of our department and the rest of my Technology team members in the districts! We do great things together and always find a way to endeavor to raise the bar. 

What is your proudest moment at CCOE?
I am currently living my proudest moment at CCOE as we design and implement the Colusa County EduNet. The EduNet will help change the lives of students that cannot get internet access at home. We are working to provide every student in Colusa County internet access at home and give all students an equal playing field. Helping all students get internet access can change educational opportunities and empower students with a better future! 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
When I have spare time, I love playing games and spending time with my friends and family. I love traveling and being near the ocean. 

What is something many people may not know about you? 

Every year my family puts on a huge Halloween display at our house with the local Thriller Flash Mob making a stop in front of our house. You can see more if you google “Eerie Evans Estate” on YouTube. 

Thank you, Alex, for your 20 years of service at Colusa County Office of Education. We appreciate you!

Image of Santana with TUPETobacco-Use Prevention Education (TUPE)

The TUPE program through Educational Services provides funding for programs in grades six through twelve through a competitive application process for tobacco-specific student instruction, reinforcement activities, special events, and intervention and cessation programs for students.

TUPE Special Events include:

  • Brief Intervention Program in collaboration with Colusa Sheriff’s Department: This program works with students countywide in creating healthy goals, educating on the dangers of vaping, and establishing alternative choices to live a healthier life.
  • Red Ribbon Week: This event provides students countywide with supplies (pencils, wristbands, etc…) It focuses on awareness of what the Red Ribbon represents which is a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness on drug abuse.
  • School Assemblies

For more information, visit the TUPE webpage and contact Santana King – TUPE Coordinator at / (530) 473-1350 x:10305. 

Rhonda Sousa - Celebrating 35 Years as a Special Education Teacher at CCOEImage of Rhonda Sousa

Tell us about your family, where you grew up, and how you became a Special Education teacher.
I grew up in Orland, California and was the 3rd generation to graduate from Orland High School.  I have a twin sister and a little brother who is a doctor in Visalia.  I met my husband on a blind date when I was 19 years old and we just celebrated our 39th anniversary this summer. We have 2 great children. Our son is a lieutenant in the air force and our daughter, also a graduate of CSUC, is a social worker. I went to Shasta College with the intention of becoming a nurse.  During the summer of my 2nd year, I worked as a camp counselor at a camp for the handicapped.  I never looked back; changed my major to education, Special Education.  I graduated from CSUC in 1980 and did my graduate work there.  While in graduate school, I worked as a substitute teacher in general education and then an aide in a Special Day Class (SDC) classroom in Hamilton City and a long-term substitute teacher in a SDC class in Chico.

Tell us how you came to work at Colusa County Office of Education and the changes you have seen as a Special Education teacher.

In 1983, I interviewed with Dr. JoAnn Saltzen, Colusa County Superintendent of Schools, and was offered a job in Arbuckle.  At that time, Arbuckle was small so I taught at two sites, Pierce High School and Johnson Jr. High.  In fact, I was the first Special Education teacher at Johnson Jr. High. When the numbers of students increased, I was asked if I wanted to teach at Jr. High or High School.  I took the position full time at JJH and I loved it. In 1997, I transferred to Maxwell K-8 and later the high school so I could attend my kids sport activities. 

In 35 years at CCOE as a Special Education teacher, I have seen many changes in the laws and regulations in Special Education.  An IEP used to be 2-3 pages long, but now it is 18-30 pages depending on the student.  I watched our SELPA grow from SDC and Resource Rooms to Full-inclusion for all students thanks to Debra Owens, SELPA Director.  The qualifications for a Special Education teacher has also changed.  At one point, teachers had to have 3 years teaching experience before being accepted into the Special Education Program. Today teachers can get their general education and special education credential concurrently.  But with all of these changes, the students are still as wonderful now as they were when I first started. That’s probably why I’m still teaching. I have always been blessed with great aides, support personnel, and staff.  They have always made my job easier and fun. 

What is your proudest moment at CCOE and why?

My proudest moment is every year when I watch “my kids” walk across the stage at graduation.  Most parents insist that I have my picture taken with their graduates.  I am very proud to do so. Happy times and good memories.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy working in my yard, reading, going to “the cabin” in Mill Creek and visiting with my grandchildren.  I like to travel and I am looking forward to it more of it when I retire. I have a group of high schoolers that I want to see graduate and then I may retire or think about it.

Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing your journey and congratulations on your 35 years at CCOE!

Tammy Arce - Celebrating 25 Years of Service

Image of Tammy ArceTammy has been with Colusa County Office of Education for 25 years. Currently you will find "Teacher Tammy" working with preschool age children at Colusa Head Start. However, she started her career at CCOE in 1994 in Special Education as a Paraeducator with 3rd grade students at Arbuckle Elementary. Beginning the 1999-2000 school year, she moved to Children's Services as a Teacher/Paraeducator with preschool age children

Her proudest moment at CCOE? Tammy shares, "Every time I see a student succeed and learn something new, it makes me proud to be a part of their learning." 

Tammy was born and raised in Woodland, CA and moved to Colusa in 1992. She received her bachelor's degree in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento. Tammy and her husband raised one son, Patrick. Patrick is now married and lives with his wife, Rosanna, and their two sons, Christian and Cruz.  In Tammy's spare time she enjoys spending time with her grandsons. She also likes kayaking, reading, and walking with her friend Mary. Tammy's favorite colors are green and purple. Her favorite food is enchiladas. Something people may not know about Tammy? She loves watching old sitcoms. 

Thank you, Tammy, for your dedication to families and your 25 years of service with Colusa County Office of Education.