First Term Highlights and Accomplishments
Michelle Hutchins, the first woman elected as the Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools, was sworn in in on October 31, 2018. Superintendent Hutchins, an educator, artist, and public school parent, has served the children in Northern California counties for 28 years.
Over the course of Hutchins' tenure after being sworn in as County Superintendent, she championed and created many historic initiatives on behalf of Mendocino's children.
Countywide Leadership during Fires, Floods, Heavy Smoke, and PG&E Power Events
In 2018 PG&E announced there would be Public Safety Power Shutoffs and asked local government to prepare the community for power loss of up to two weeks in length. Superintendent Hutchins made it a priority to finish an emergency business center at MCOE and install generators to power it. In addition, Hutchins secured funds to purchase PurpleAir monitors for eight of the twelve school districts so that the air quality could be measured during heavy smoke events and established guidelines for schools. Hutchins supported the Pillow Case Project which taught children how to prepare for home evacuation events. Superintendent Hutchins worked closely with Mental Health providers to ensure students were provided counseling in the school setting.
Youth Voter Registration Project
Forging a partnership between the League of Women Voters, County Elections, and 12th Grade Civics Teachers, Hutchins championed the Youth Voter Project. Volunteers came into classrooms, preregistered students to vote, and educated students on the importance of voting and civic engagement. Thank you League of Women Voters.
Transformed MCOE into a Values Driven and Outcomes Based Organization
Retirements and reorganization created an opportunity for Superintendent Hutchins to hire new assistant superintendents and a new (all female) leadership team was formed. This dynamic team transformed MCOE into a values driven and outcomes based organization. Utilizing employee engagement strategies, measuring, and reporting results, CS Hutchins and her team are building the agency's capacity to help others learn and excel. A five year strategic plan is just about complete.
Daily then weekly zoom and email communications with staff, schools, and community; Periodic town hall meetings for parents, teachers, and staff; and Regular communications with State and local public health departments. MCOE taught remote learning modules to teachers all over the county; distributed over 45 tons of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to schools; responded to 34 local educational agency requests; and organized vaccination clinics, surveillance testing, and school surveys. A Road to Reopening Workbook was developed to guide schools in preparing to return to in-person learning whether it was hybrid or full in person.
Decentralizing Services- Effective and Efficient Services
In early 2020, after a full redesign of educational services, MCOE prepared delivery of remote learning modules to teachers around the County which made MCOE already positioned to support teachers when the pandemic hit. Hutchins had the the main conference center remodeled to easily connect with the classroom on the coast connecting inland and coastal communities for workshops and trainings.
Superintendent Hutchins and her team transformed educational services from a division focused on curriculum and instruction to a team focused on continuous improvement in all areas of the school. The student events are expanding into esports. Early in her tenure Superintendent Hutchins secured funding to bring a unique professional development opportunity that allowed teachers and students to participate in escape room designed with academic puzzles. After the experience teachers and students discussed the excitement of learning that occurs when one discovers. Hutchins secured funding for student led clubs where students are involved with solving problems for their community.
“SLED and Quest came at the perfect time to our learning community as we are experiencing a moment in history that we are not prepared for, going back to school during the pandemic, full time and with protocols around COVID. It is a stressful and uncertain time, so the trainings were a great escape into learning how to problem solve collaboratively, and each step of the way, the students could apply the skills they were developing to their own lives. This relevant experience changed their lives at the perfect time in history.” - Administrator, River Oak Charter"
School Board Development
Under the leadership of Superintendent Michelle Hutchins, Mendocino County Board of Education is the first county board in the State to have all members complete the Masters in Governance Training through the California County Boards of Education. All five board members and Superintendent Hutchins committed to five weekends of online classes to complete the training.
Communities of Practice
Superintendent Hutchins and the Educational Services Team started three new communities of practice that include Charter and Private Schools, Educational Support Services, and Computer Science Interested Educators.
Let's Work Together
To continue serving our children, I must conduct an aggressive campaign. This campaign’s success will require a strong grassroots organization. Join us.