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EDCOE Team Member Spotlight – Lisa Tomasello

08:45 AM - January 09, 2023

Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).

I grew up in “real” Northern California: Redding. I am one of four children and was the first in my family to go to college. I met my husband playing softball during my college days and we have been married for 26 years. We moved to El Dorado County in 1999. I am a proud mom of three young adults, Gabrielle, Arianna, and Giovanni all of whom spent their entire K-12 academic careers in El Dorado County schools. Working for EDCOE is a homecoming of sorts since I spent many years as a parent resource and a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) chairperson for the EDCOE Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPA).


What is your department, title, and primary work location, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?

I am a Program Technician who provides special education technical support and Special Education Information System (SEIS) training to our El Dorado Charter SELPA member schools, about 435 of them. I have been with EDCOE since September 2020. Before joining EDCOE, I worked for the Rescue Union School District and the California Interscholastic Federation (the organization that oversees high school sports.)


Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.

My role is to assist Local Education Agencies (LEA) with accurate and timely data reporting, as well as partnering with the SELPA Program Specialists to develop and deliver relevant SEIS training to our special education providers and administrators.


What do you most appreciate about your department/team?

Even though what our department does is mostly “behind the scenes,” I am proud of the level of service that we provide and the opportunity to support schools throughout California. I love being part of the solution when LEAs are experiencing difficulties and enjoy the teaching aspect of my position.  I am most proud of the training content our department has created and the positive impact it has had on the LEAs that we support. The more knowledge and proficiency our special education professionals gain in SEIS and CALPADS, the more time they can spend serving their students as navigating the systems becomes less cumbersome.


What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?

I don’t have a single proudest moment. It’s lots of little ones. One of the best moments is seeing our names and SELPA included in state chats when non-affiliated LEAs are asking for help, and someone replies, “You should join the Charter SELPA. They’ve got it going on.”


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my family. I enjoy cooking and photography, as well as coaching Special Olympics. I am the Volunteer Team Manager of Team Folsom Hills and just completed my 16th year of coaching. Come January, you will see me running from the A building to my car most nights to get to one sports practice or another.


What is something many people may not know about you?

I am a musical theater buff. While in high school I performed in several musicals. I was also a state-ranked old-time fiddler in my youth.


If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, whom would it be and why?

I would want to have a sit down with Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her vision of transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and her passion to provide a setting for “the chance to play, the chance to compete and the chance to grow” that led to the creation of Special Olympics is awe-inspiring. Going from a grassroots camp in her backyard to an international organization that serves over five million athletes is … I don’t even have the words.


From Robert Steponovich, SELPA Business Services Director

Why is this individual crucial to your team? 

Lisa is a consistent and dedicated professional blessed with the ability to adapt quickly and move forward. Special education compliance has been and will continue to be a rapidly changing landscape. Lisa digests and adjusts to CDE guidelines and system changes remarkably well, which greatly benefits the SELPA’s 440 LEAs and 33,000 students with disabilities whom all rely on her for support. She breaks down requirements into meaningful chunks and provides clear training and direction to our LEAs.

 As we work to build our SELPA Data team, Lisa’s incredible bandwidth and dedication are evident as she maintains uncompromised support services even with a heavy workload. Her commitment to delivering platinum-level LEA support makes her an outstanding employee and this recognition is well deserved. 


What are this individual’s greatest qualities?

Tough one. There are so many. I’d have to say Lisa’s passion. She doesn’t just strive for her objectives; she attacks them, whether they involve supporting our LEAs or organizing the Special Olympics. This passion for service translates into an inspiring dedication to better outcomes for students and others with disabilities. Another quality we get consistent feedback about from her training events is the captivating way she delivers content. Her approach draws in listeners and keeps them attentive and focused.

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