county boards
The Year in Review
By CCBE President Janet Wohlgemuth
Janet Wohlgemuth Portrait
What a year 2020 has been! Here are some of the highlights from the California County Boards of Education this past year.
In January, executive board members spent three days working on plans for this year, getting to know each other and building the calendar of events and trainings. We also clarified the year’s main tasks and the vision for this year’s conference.

I had the privilege to go to Washington, D.C. with our elected officials and represent CCBE to speak about school funding, special education, using Title II for funding and the need for more teachers. I had the opportunity to speak with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s staff, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s representative and many other elected officials.

The conference committee started putting together this year’s plans in February. They hit the ground running with great ideas, and requested sessions and scheduling. By March, they were back at the table looking at other options as long-term COVID-19 concerns loomed over conference planning. Through their hard work they were able to find a platform to bring this year’s conference to everyone virtually and with new topics impacting every school.

Unfortunately, a lot of trainings and events were cancelled due to COVID. Our Legislative Action Day, governance training and Masters in Governance courses fell victim to COVID. It didn’t stop the Board of Directors from meeting virtually for our retreat. This gave us the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, review the next year’s budget, look at possible fundraising ideas and our outreach to county offices with regional visits.

Before we knew it, the Annual Conference was here and what an amazing list of presenters we had! Eric Yuan, the Founder & CEO of Zoom, kicked off the first night. It was great to hear that he was looking for more input from school boards on how to make Zoom better for teachers, students and board members. State Board of Education President Linda Darling Hammond spoke on how we can help support student learning in the time of COVID. And, of course, there was the ever-popular Pure Politics general session with the Capitol Advisors Group. This year, we were able to also add CSBA’s PACERs (Public Affairs & Community Engagement Representatives) to our program and have regional breakouts so that members could talk about different ideas and issues in their regions.

CSBA President Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez and Superintendent Dr. Deneen Guss from Monterey County Office of Education also spoke at the conference. I was able to present the new outreach video that all county offices and Regional Directors can use to talk about the benefits of CCBE membership. View the video at

As the year ends, I look forward the CSBA Annual Education Conference and encourage you to join the virtual conference as well.

It has been a pleasure to serve all of you as this year’s President.