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EDCOE Honors individuals with Excellence in Education Awards

00:00 AM - May 28, 2020

Each year, the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) recognizes individuals for hard work that directly or indirectly contributes to providing quality support and services to students, schools, families, and the community. This year two admirable team members were selected to receive the Superintendent’s “Excellence in Education Award,” Elizabeth Blakemore, Director, Early Learning & Family Support and Lisa Tuchsen, Special Services Administrator. County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ed Manansala, presented the awards virtually via YouTube Live event. “Both of our winners exemplify excellence in education, and their passion to serve all children is unmatched. Congratulations to you both!”

Elizabeth Blakemore has been a leader in shaping policy for high quality early care and education programs at the state, regional and local levels relied upon for her expertise in building local child care consortia. The county’s youngest students and families have benefited from her dedication and services, which extend well beyond EDCOE-specific programs. “I am honored to be selected for the EDCOE Excellence in Education Award as it reflects on and highlights the tremendous work and dedication of my team,“ she expressed. “We are all dedicated to supporting the children, families and providers of El Dorado County.”  

Elizabeth is the past Secretary and Public Policy policy committee member of the CA Child Care Coordinator’s Association, championing high-quality early care and education services for our children and families and often called upon by legislative offices and the media. As the lead for Region 3 Training and Technical Assistance Hub, Elizabeth works to provide efficient and effective services to a fourteen county region. In particular, she has worked with the University of Washington to develop a virtual coaching model to provide continuous improvement supports to childcare staff.

In our county, she leads the El Dorado County Early Care and Education Planning Council, blending nine funding streams to implement a local Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) The QRIS ensures that all families have access to care that meets their needs with services include provider coaching, incentives, training and technical assistance.

In addition to her work in high quality child care, she works to support our county’s most vulnerable children by facilitating the El Dorado County Child Abuse Prevention Council. The Council supports family engagement strategies in our Community Hubs, mandated reporter trainings and creating awareness of ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences. Elizabeth is an innovator, serving as part of a team that secured almost 1 million dollars to provide inclusive environments to 3 of our EDCOE preschool sites. She has been known to say, “I go to work every day for our kids!”

The award was also presented to Lisa Tuchsen who came to EDCOE in July 2005, when she was first hired as a school psychologist for Special Services. In 2010, she was promoted to an administrator. She has supported just about every type of program in Special Services, including our Autism programs, preschool classrooms and most recently our Infant Development Program and Preschool Assessment Team.

Several years ago, Tuchsen co-taught Autism Authorization credential classes that provided an essential component needed by many district-level educational specialists. Regardless of which programs she is directly supporting, at her core, the values of inclusion of all students guide her planning and decision making. 

Her passion for early intervention led her to spearhead EDCOE’s successful transition of early intervention services that made EDCOE the only full service early intervention program in El Dorado County. In 2016 she started the first ever multidisciplinary Preschool Assessment Team in El Dorado County.  Her history of innovation with EDCOE continued to lead her down a path of casting new visions for El Dorado County when she helped write an approximately $1 million Inclusive Early Education Expansion Grant (IEEEP) for EDCOE. 

“It is an honor to receive this recognition. I am humbled daily by IDP, PAT and Special Services  team’s commitment to families and children we serve and grateful to be a part of the many departments in EDCOE who strive to collaborate and innovate daily,” Lisa expressed.

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