EDCOE Team Member Spotlight
00:00 AM - September 09, 2019
Interview with Denise:
Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).
I grew up in West Sacramento, the other side of the river and the tracks in Broderick. I survived 13 years of Catholic school. My parents relocated to Shingle Springs in 2007, the same year I married my husband, Nathanael. My husband and I worked at SETA Head Start in Sacramento, and we met when we were both preschool teachers at the same center. In 2008, we welcomed our daughter (Harlynn) into the world. In 2013, we were fortunate to be able to purchase a property adjacent to my parent’s in El Dorado County. We had grown to love the area and were seeking a more rural lifestyle. Commuting to Sac quickly grew old, and I began applying for positions at EDCOE. After four years of commuting and 18 years at SETA, I was fortunate to have Elizabeth Blakemore and Kathi Guerrero hire me for a new grant-funded project that was just starting up.
What is your department, title, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?
Early Learning and Family Support, Regional IMPACT Coordinator, three years.
Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.
Quality Counts, CA is our state’s name for our Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). A QRIS provides a framework for building strong early care and education systems within states. California developed ten regional hubs to support this work, break down silos, and reduce duplication of efforts. I am the Region 3 Hub Coordinator. I, along with Elizabeth, Kathi and Katherine Stidham support Region 3 which is made up of 14 counties (Amador, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, Yuba, Sutter, Colusa, Placer, Sierra and Nevada). We provide direct training/technical assistance and coordination of T/TA to these 14 counties as requested. Our work directly supports the county leads, administrators, coordinators, coaches and trainers in each county to assist them in providing the best supports and professional development to the early educators/teachers and providers in their communities. This work has a direct impact on the quality of care, in center-based preschools, family childcare homes, family friends neighbor settings and alternative sites.
What do you most appreciate about your department/team?
I appreciate everyone’s eagerness to come together for the greater good. They are all so supportive. We are a small but mighty unit working very hard to improve the lives of children and families in El Dorado County and beyond.
What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?
Challenging behavior was the #1 cause of my burn out when I was a Head Start Teacher. I worked at a center in Del Paso Heights for nine years, a high-risk, economically challenged area in Sacramento. I saw a vast array of persistent challenging behavior that I felt helpless to overcome. As an administrator, once I was no longer directly teaching children, I received training on the CA Teaching Pyramid. The mission of the Teaching Pyramid is to promote healthy social AND emotional development and to prevent challenging behavior. I am an authorized coach and trainer for the CA Teaching Pyramid, and I am most proud that I was able to use my authorization to help get the Teaching Pyramid into all 14 counties in Region 3. At the end of this fiscal year, we (along with WestEd) will have supported 84 trainer/coach authorizations and successfully completed 20 training cohorts. What this means is: we are getting this framework to the people that need it (teachers/providers) and have established a system for sustainability.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, live music, and comedy.
What is something many people may not know about you?
I have been known to frequent Zac Brown Band concerts all over the continent.
If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
David Pelzer, he is an American author, of several autobiographical and self-help books. His resiliency has inspired me since 1995 when I read his first book, “A Child Called It.”
From supervisor, Elizabeth Blakemore:
Denise Gale is an innovator, an amazing negotiator, compassionate, and caring team member. She negotiated and implemented an innovative regional approach for California Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (CSEFEL Teaching Pyramid) trainer and coach authorization with WestEd and supported ten training cohorts. While we value her strategic thinking and incredible attention to detail, we most appreciate her commitment to high-quality early education experiences for all children, her generous heart and fun-loving spirit. It is fair to say that the Early Learning and Family Support team and all the counties we support would share similarly positive comments about Denise and note her training expertise, reliability, and responsiveness.