EDCOE Team Member Spotlight - Gina Sapyta
12:38 PM - March 15, 2021
Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).
I currently live in South Lake Tahoe, but I was born in Florida and raised around Chicago, IL and Placerville, CA. My family is split between California, Illinois and Indiana, so I fly back to the Midwest every year (pre-covid19). I graduated college from Southern Oregon University with a BA in Communications and a minor in International Studies. Working for EDCOE is my first job in establishing a career after graduating college and the knowledge I have been able to gain thus far has been incredibly valuable. I have always had a passion for the education field and working with troubled youth, so I have been very grateful for the learning experience of working at a school inside a Juvenile Treatment Center.
What is your department, title, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?
I’ve been the Secretary II at Blue Ridge Court School in South Lake Tahoe for nearly 2 years.
Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.
Since Blue Ridge Court School has such a small staff, I find myself involved in many aspects, from planning graduations, a job/resource fair, bringing in guest speakers, to general office duties, enrolling/releasing students, creating transcripts, managing substitutes, working with students on enrolling at LTCC or FLC, and acting as on the “on-site IT person” for students and staff.
What are you and your team doing to support education during COVID-19?
Blue Ridge Court School was one of, if not the first school in California to come back in-person full time. We started coming back into the facility on a hybrid model back in July 2020 and then officially came back for in-person instruction full-time the first week of October 2020. Since the youth we work with live in the facility, we try to maintain consistency and normalcy in the classroom as best as we can. Students work on the Chromebooks or out of a textbook depending on their learning style and we reward students for consistent, positive behavior and participation. We have also been Zooming guest speakers into the classroom from different career fields to educate students on different possible paths and how succeed in those fields.
What do you most appreciate about your department/team?
I appreciate how dedicated our team is to continuing the improvement of our program; and our team always has the students’ needs and best interests in mind first with everything we do, and I believe that shows.
What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?
The moments I’ve felt most proud have been when the most troubled students begin to learn positive coping skills and experience a sudden shift seemingly overnight that changes their whole essence in a positive way. Although I love to see students, I am most proud when a student never returns to Blue Ridge Court School.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy traveling and road trips, which I try to do often. I love being in nature and by water, eating good food, watching good entertainment, completing puzzles and playing fun games with friends and family.
What is something many people may not know about you?
I have been an extra in the movies Moneyball, Geography Club and the Steve Jobs movie, Jobs. I got to say hello to Dermot Mulroney and although I was in crowd/bleacher scenes, I swear Brad Pitt waved to me… okay, maybe not directly to me, but it’s more fun to believe he did.
If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
Emmanuel Acho. I’m a big fan of his career and how he has been able to use his platform to reach and teach so many people. I am inspired by Emmanuel and everyone could continue to learn and grow by hearing his thoughts and what he has to say. I could listen to him speak for hours.
From supervisor, Carey Buchanan, Principal, Court School/Charter Programs:
Gina is a crucial member of the team for her collaborative spirit, her enthusiasm and desire to do a great job! Gina has really been holding the Court School together in this time of crisis, and we wouldn’t have been able to manage without her. She is a visionary, thinks creatively, and adds greatly to our planning meetings. She has been the perfect fit for the Court School, is such an incredible support to me, and we are grateful to have her!
Gina has a high level of integrity, she’s funny, super bright and everyone comments on the high level of support she provides not only to staff, but Probation and the teaching staff at Blue Ridge. She is a wonderful member of our team.