Thursday, March 21, 2013

Campolindo High School has an impressive showing at the California State Academic Decathlon Champion

The recently crowned Contra Costa County High School Academic Decathlon Champions, Campolindo High School, (see story) had a very impressive past weekend at the 2013 California Academic Decathlon, held in Sacramento.

Campolindo’s coach Paul Verbanszky reported that the team represented Contra Costa County very well at the state competition. The team received the Most Improved School Award in state ranking for schools of all sizes—increasing from 40th to 24th place and they are the state champions for medium-sized schools. The team also earned 12 individual achievement awards. Verbanszky said “The team is incredibly excited to represent Contra Costa County and Northern California schools in the Online Academic Decathlon National in April!” 

The main winner overall (Los Angeles Unified School District's Granada Hills Charter High School) will represent California at this year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., April 25 – 27. All the other division winners, such as Camplindo, will compete online during the same time. 

Campolindo’s highest scorer, Marina Han, said, “I felt pretty confident at State and really enjoyed the competition.  I felt like I was in my element. I am slightly nervous, but looking forward to compete at the national level.”

Tristan Caro, who collected three individual medals in Sacramento, said, “I thought it was great that in just a few years we went from barely reaching 2nd place in county to making national competition. It really says something to the effort of everyone on the team and the dedication of the team members.”

Verbanszky teaches AP psychology and government/economics, and has been Campolindo’s Academic Decathlon coach since 2005. His Academic Decathlon is an after school club with funding coming from generous donations and fundraising.  It is a tremendous accomplishment to compete in the Nationals. 
He continues, “I am very proud of my students.  They have put in countless hours after school preparing for competition. And, our team gives a big thank you to the Contra Costa County Office of Education for all of their hard work with Academic Decathlon, so that the students can have such a positive experience.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

County Office of Education promotes new Deputy Superintendent

Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., recently promoted Karen Sakata as the new Deputy Superintendent for the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Sakata brings more than 38 years of experience as an education administrator and teacher to her new position as the CCCOE's second-in-command. 

Recently, Sakata had been serving as the CCCOE'S Associate Superintendent, human resources, a position she transferred to after working as the agency's Associate Superintendent, student and program services, from July 2008 to July 2010. Before joining the CCCOE, she was the Principal of Ayers Elementary School, in Concord (Mt. Diablo Unified School District). Prior to her principal position, Sakata worked primarily as a special education program specialist, special education teacher, and administrator in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Her teaching positions included serving as a special education teacher, speech and language pathologist, resource specialist, and an early childhood specialist.

"With her wealth of experience in education and numerous successful accomplishments in the classroom and in administration here in Contra Costa County, we are quite excited about Karen taking on this new position," reports Dr. Ovick. “Karen is a dynamic leader who is passionate about life-long learning. Our students, educators, and administrators will certainly benefit from her guidance.”

Under the direction of Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ovick, Sakata will be directing day-to-day activities of the CCCOE; analyze County Office issues and provide recommendations to the superintendent concerning appropriate course of action; serve as the superintendent in the absence of the administrator; and review, analyze, and sign documents and contracts on behalf of the superintendent. In addition, Sakata will continue her role in directing the CCCOE's human resources department.

Sakata holds an M.A. in speech pathology from San Jose State University and a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, at Berkeley. In addition, she has earned a number of education-related certifications, credentials, and licenses.