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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-33
May 7, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Hosts First Virtual Educator Support Circle to Spotlight Wellness and Resources

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted the first Virtual Support Circle for Educators today that featured an online panel of education experts to reach out and hear directly from front-line educators at schools across California. Featured guests included one of California’s 2020 Teachers of the Year and others who provided special presentations on educator resources and mental health and wellness.

Thurmond acknowledged that many educators are feeling overwhelmed during this time of distance learning and juggling work and life under significant stress. This virtual event was a chance to share experiences, resources, and encouragement as schools and families navigate next steps together.

“I commend all educators for their resilience and for being innovative in finding ways to connect with students and continue their learning throughout the physical closure of school campuses,” Thurmond said. “What our educators and support staff have done over the last few weeks has been nothing short of remarkable. I felt compelled to provide a space to let these individuals know they are not alone. We see them, we hear them and most importantly, we are here to support them during this pandemic. Today is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all of our educators.”

The Virtual Support Circle for Educators featured perspectives from Juan Garibay, an education support professional at Newhall Unified School District; Jose Alcala, an alternative high school history/social studies teacher at Moreno Valley Unified School District; Brannin Dorsey, a first grade teacher at Fremont Unified School District; Sarah Robinson, a high school Spanish teacher at Redondo Beach Unified School District; and Terri Jackson, an education policy consultant for the Educator Excellence and Equity Division at the California Department of Education (CDE).

 Shanine Coats, Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division at the CDE, gave an overview of resources to support educator wellness.

Participants also heard from Mandy Kelly, a sixth grade teacher in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District and one of California’s 2020 Teachers of the Year. The event concluded with a special presentation on personal wellness by Mara Madrigal-Weiss from the San Diego County Office of Education and remarks by Superintendent Thurmond.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, participants in today’s event told personal, inspirational stories about a teacher who made a special impact on their lives.

This was the first of many events planned for the Virtual Educator Support Circle series. It can be watched via Facebook Live on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook web page External link opens in new window or tab. . The Power Point slides utilized during today’s presentation with information on teacher resources will be published on the CDE Distance Learning web page in the next few days and also on the CDE’s social media platforms.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Friday, May 08, 2020
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