In continuing to successfully meet the demands of providing quality service to the county’s students, teachers, and school districts, while also working within its own ongoing budget cuts, the CCCOE has been enacting a number of changes within its organization. The most significant change has been the recent voluntary early retirement of 51 CCCOE teachers, classified staff, administrators, and directors. Of those 51 vacated positions, approximately 20 (primarily teachers and instructional aids) will be replaced by new hires in the very near future. Another considerable adjustment with the CCCOE is the recent merging and restructuring of departments inside the agency, which makes these two cabinet updates so important. Since May 2008, Sakata has been the CCCOE’s associate superintendent of student programs and services. Prior to joining the CCCOE, Sakata was serving as principal of Ayers Elementary School, in Concord (Mt. Diablo Unified School District). Sakata brings more than 35 years of experience as a classroom teacher and an education administrator to her new position. She will be replacing the recently retired Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Michael Bowers.
“Karen [Sakata] was the perfect choice for this position because of her experience regarding personnel issues and because she is a graduate of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Personnel Academy and has attended the ACSA Personnel Institute,” reports Dr. Ovick. “She has assumed a leadership role backed by ten years of experience with negotiations, and she has both school district and COE experience with recruitments, staff evaluation, and conflict resolution, as it relates to providing quality services, while fully recognizing that the most important resource that we have is our staff.”
With the recent vacancy of Sakata’s former position and the retirement of Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Susan Magnone, the departments of Educational Services and Student Programs and Services were recently merged and will now be directed by Dr. Comfort.
Dr. Comfort joins the CCCOE after serving for the past two years as the assistant superintendent of educational services with the Newark Unified School District (Newark, Calif.). Prior to that position, she was the director of instruction and program improvement with the San Lorenzo Unified School District (San Lorenzo, Calif.). Her impressive work experience also includes other administration, principal, and teaching positions held with other Alameda County schools and schools districts, beginning in 1992.
“We feel very fortunate to have Dr. Comfort join us here at the CCCOE,” continues Dr. Ovick. “Her excellent background and vast applicable experience will be so important to fill this new cabinet position.”
These two appointments, as well as a number of other CCCOE employee and departmental changes were officially enacted on July 1, 2010.