Celebrating Education Successes Across Monterey County

An Amazing April

MCOE is proud to share news from April 2019, where our staff, along with district and community partners, are continuing to make outstanding impacts on education throughout Monterey County.

Monterey County Teacher of the Year Surprised with Countywide Recognition

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The Monterey County Office of Education is thrilled to announce our Monterey County Teacher of the Year is Meredith Jones, First-Grade Teacher at Mission Park Elementary in the Salinas City Elementary School District.

It’s Jones’ third year teaching at Mission Park Elementary — fifth year with Salinas City Elementary School District — with prior experience at Del Rey Elementary in King City, a school in San Jose and a stint in Bonn, Germany teaching a class of fourth graders for a year.

The love for teaching runs in the family as Jones followed her dad’s footsteps, who was a high school English teacher. Growing up, she was always involved with children whether it was babysitting or teaching swimming.

Meredith and her students were surprised with the news during class on April 11th by County Superintendent, Dr. Deneen Guss, Salinas City Elementary School District Superintendent, Martha Martinez, and Mission Park Elementary Principal, Jennifer Zanzot. Mrs. Jones will now move on to the California Teacher of the Year competition! We wish her the very best of luck and are extremely proud she is representing Monterey County!

MCOE Names First-Ever Employee of the Month

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On April 4th, MCOE named its first-ever Employee of the Month - Vince Hernandez, Maintenance and Operations Department! Vince was selected because of his extraordinary work ethic, willingness to help anyone and everyone, and his dedication to his department and MCOE. He was surprised by County Superintendent, Dr. Guss and the Human Resources Department with a certificate, balloons, and a bag full of goodies. Mr. Hernandez was also recognized at the Monterey County Board of Education meeting on April 10th and shared his excitement for being the very first Employee of the Month! A huge honor!

We are thrilled to launch this monthly recognition and announce May's Employee of the Month very soon.

Have an employee you'd like to nominate? The process is easy and any employee can submit a nomination. Simply visit the online form here and honor your colleague today!

Employees can be nominated in one or many of the following categories:

  • Exemplary performance of responsibilities contributing significantly to the success of a Monterey County Office of Education program, service or special project;
  • Exemplary performance of customer service;
  • Exemplary performance in an outside community activity/program promoting the role of the Monterey County Office of Education or public education in general;
  • Exemplary attendance.

Employees are selected based upon the nomination’s rationale for why the nominee has gone above and beyond to stand out in an extraordinary way.

MCOE Campus Welcoming Laura's Barn Preschool

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We are thrilled to update you on a project our County Superintendent, Dr. Guss, first mentioned during her swearing in ceremony – MCOE’s partnership with Laura’s Barn Preschool Child Care Center! Over the last several months, our General Services Department has been working with Laura’s Barn to design and build a state-of-the art preschool in our very own Morgantini Building (893 Blanco Circle, Salinas) to provide over 6,600 square feet of learning and fun for children ages 0-4.

Opening day for Laura’s Barn is fast approaching, as they are planning to open their doors on Wednesday, May 1st. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at a later date.

MCOE is proud to see our MCOE facilities being used to provide early childhood care and education to our local families. Please join us in warmly welcoming Laura and her staff to the MCOE campus!

Questions? Please contact our Communications and Public Relations Officer, Jessica Hull at jhull@montereycoe.org.

MCOE Moving to G Suite

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Over the past year, MCOE employees have been asking for stronger security, increased access and collaboration capabilities. In order to improve and expand our technology services over the next eight weeks, MCOE is moving to G Suite, which includes Gmail. G Suite allows unlimited storage in email, productivity tools including Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Google Calendar, and others.

G Suite is a collaboration system. With Google, one person creates the original document, a second person can review that same document, mark it up and offer suggestions, then another and another. It's left to the original writer (or other invited collaborators) to accept or reject the changes suggested. This whole process can then be repeated over and over again. A collaboration where the changes are suggested, agreed to, and implemented in real time produces better results, faster and with a lot fewer staff hours.

Security and protecting data are a top priority for our MCOE Technology and Operations Team. G Suite offers the following security:

  • Perfect forward secrecy: Google is the first major cloud provider to enable perfect forward secrecy, which encrypts content as it moves between their servers and those of other companies.
  • 100% email encryption: Every single email message sent or received – 100% of them – is encrypted while moving between Google’s data centers. This ensures that messages are safe not only when they move between devices and Gmail’s servers, but also as they move internally within Google.

We are excited to move MCOE to this more secure and more collaborative system.

Several Google Gmail and Introduction to G Suite applications training will be taking place this May:

  • May 6 from 3:30 to 5 pm
  • May 8 from 3:30 to 5 pm
  • May 14 from 3:30 to 5 pm
  • May 20 from 3:30 to 5 pm
  • May 28 from 3:30 to 5 pm

Register here

For questions about this transition, please contact Trish Paulson at tpaulson@montereycoe.org.

Health Fair Takes Employees and their Families to a Luau

The Monterey County Office of Education is focused on employee health and wellness, providing many opportunities throughout the year for health checks, flu shots, healthy eating and exercise incentive programs, and more.

On Tuesday, April 16th, our annual Health Fair hosted hundreds of MCSIG and CVT members to an afternoon full of fun - free healthy snacks, mini massages, health screenings, raffle prizes and the ability to meet with health and wellness providers from around the county. We even had puppies!!! Kudos to our Human Resources Department for hosting such an outstanding event and thank you to everyone who attended!

Monterey County School Boards Association Awards Excellence in Education Honor to Community Human Services

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The Monterey County School Boards Association honored Community Human Services with the “Excellence in Education” Award at its annual dinner and organizational meeting on Thursday, March 28th, at Hartnell College.

School board members and superintendents from school districts throughout Monterey County attended the event. The Monterey County School Boards Association helps governance teams fulfill their school district’s educational missions by providing information and training on governance standards and current issues. Each year they recognize a local program with the Excellence in Education Award. Programs honored have transformative and significant impacts on students’ quality of life and demonstrate a commitment to exceeding expectations in pursuit of addressing significant, unmet student needs.

Community Human Services serves our most vulnerable youth in Monterey County with programs that address challenges such as addiction, violence, mental illness, emotional health, child abuse, homelessness, and more.

Community Human Services provides high-quality counseling programs, substance abuse prevention services, life skills tools, school-based programs, and support networks so our local youth can improve their school attendance, performance, social outcomes, and realize their full potential.

Community Human Services is helping our young people to overcome obstacles and find hope and success in today’s complicated world. We are extremely grateful that Community Human Services helps our youth to reach for opportunities that lead to a bright future.

Migrant Education Speech & Debate Tournament Champions Head to State

The 10th Annual Migrant Speech & Debate Tournament was held on Saturday, March 16th at Salinas High School. Winners will represent Region XVI at the 9th Annual State Speech & Debate Tournament in Ventura, May 3-5.

In the program, students learn to logically develop arguments to persuade a critical audience and develop critical thinking and interrogation skills.

Results for the debate competition are listed below. We congratulate all of the students and staff who made the 10th annual tournament a huge success! A complete listing of results can be found here.

High School Debate



Gonzales High School *


Greenfield High School


Everett Alvarez High School



Salinas High School – Team #1 *


King City High School


North Salinas High School

Middle School Debate



Chualar School *


Gavilan View Middle School * (Spanish)


Washington Middle School

* Debate Teams that will be representing Region XVI at the 9th Annual State Speech & Debate Tournament

MCOE Employees Celebrate Service Anniversaries

Each Spring, MCOE recognizes employees for service anniversaries for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years of service (and beyond!). Our greatest resources at MCOE are the dedicated staff whose daily efforts help our students, staff, schools and districts succeed.

We thank each of you for your years of service to MCOE!

First-Ever MCSIG Bowling Tournament was a Strike!

On Saturday, April 6th at Valley Center Bowl in Salinas, MCSIG held its first-ever Bowling Tournament. The wellness-focused bowling tournament had an 80s theme and MCOE’s team name was “Living on a Spare.”

Kudos to the 300 people who participated from Monterey County schools! Focusing on wellness, our HR team joined with other MCSIG members to enjoy a fun day of fitness and camaraderie!

All-Star Shout-Outs!

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San Antonio's Denise Hardoy

San Antonio Union School Middle School Science Teacher Denise Hardoy has been selected for the scientific trip of a lifetime, and may get a selfie with a penguin out of it too.

Beginning in November, Denise will participate as a research team member in an authentic scientific expedition in Antarctica, joining other U.S. teachers and informal science educators who will be working in research locations from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, as part of a program that allows educators to experience first-hand what it is like to conduct scientific research in some of the most remote locations on earth. She began training for her trip in Alaska March 31 - April 4, 2019, and expects to depart for her five-week trip to Antarctica in November.

Denise is one of a select group of educators chosen through a nationwide search to participate in PolarTREC, an educational research experience in which educators participate in polar research, working closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science education. Through PolarTREC, selected educators have the rare opportunity to work with a research team in the Arctic or Antarctic. After the field experience, the program Denise will continue to share her with students and the public by creating activities to transfer scientific data, methodologies, and technology.

“I am most excited about bringing real science to my students,” said Hardoy. “They have been doing a lot of their own work collecting data and this would tie everything together. We started research early on with studying the local watershed, then studying the ocean and discovering the global impact of things they are finding. This trip will bring dry data to life for them.”

“My students are excited and have bribed me to bring back a penguin or two or… at least attempt a selfie with one,” said Hardoy.

To learn more about Denise's adventure, follow her through PolarTREC and her journals here.

Mark Your Calendars

Blue Zones Project

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The Monterey County Office of Education is proud to be a partner in the Blue Zones Project Salinas.

Blue Zones Project® is a well-being improvement initiative designed to help make healthier choices easier by encouraging changes to communities that lead to healthier options. When individuals and organizations participate — from worksites and schools to restaurants and grocery stores — the small changes contribute to huge benefits: lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity, and ultimately, a higher quality of life.

Learn more about Blue Zones here! Visit Blue Zones Project Salinas here.

Watch out for Blue Zones Project changes coming to MCOE sites in the near future!

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Have a story for E-News?

Send your news to jhull@montereycoe.org today for future editions!