Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, M.S.W is the Statewide Director for the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program at the California Department of Education (CDE), where she works across departments, State agencies, school districts, county offices of education and with education equity stakeholders to ensure that the promise of the Local Control Funding Formula is fulfilled for students in foster care.
Due to her work with foster care education advocacy, California Chief Justice Tani G.Cantil-Sakauye has appointed Ms. Wong to her Keeping Kids in School (KKIS) Steering Committee focused on involving the courts in education efforts across the state. KKIS is focused on keeping kids in school and out of the justice system.
Prior to her return to CDE, she was a Children’s Advocate for the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL). NCYL is a national organization that has been advocating on behalf of children and youth living in poverty for over four decades. Ms. Wong has led their work in improving educational outcomes for students in foster care, addressing the needs of victims of commercial sexual exploitation, ensuring that system involved children and youth are not criminalized and other various projects of the organization.
Prior to this post, Ms. Wong was a Senior Policy Advisor to Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. Ms. Wong’s policy areas included Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, Long Term Aging and related issues, including work with stakeholders on the Local Control Funding Formula provisions related to students in foster care.
Prior to her move to West Sacramento in 2006, she was an Administrator for the Oakland Unified School District’s Student, Family and Community Services Department helping to develop the district’s Foster Youth Program, Refugee Student Assistance Program, Homeless Student Program. Migrant Education Program, various Coordination of Services Programs and Crisis Response protocols. Having developed many of her skills from being part of McClymonds High School’s student support staff, Ms. Wong prides herself in being a school-based social worker who has a focus on strong comprehensive collaborations with a youth development focus.
Ms. Wong, in the past has coordinated various components of the Summer Youth Employment and Training Program, provided mental health outreach, co-directed after-school tutoring services, supported and participated in various educational enrichment programs in the Bay Area, provided wraparound services to at-risk families in Sacramento County and provided intensive support to Healthy Start collaboratives in the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Literally, born en route to freedom during the fall of Saigon, Ms. Wong comes to us having been raised in Stockton, California where her functional fluency in both Spanish and Vietnamese has allowed her to work across a diverse range of immigrant communities, with gang involved youth, and other highly at-risk populations. Through her work and background, Jackie understands the positive impact of a strong comprehensive education system on the futures of students and families.
Jackie is a mother of two children attending a Washington Unified School District elementary school where she is a member of her PTO. She trains with her daughter in the art of Taekwondo at ATA Martial Arts school, was an assistant coach for West Sacramento's recreational U10 girls soccer league and is training to be a Spartan athlete, in her spare time.
Coby Pizzotti is a partner in the association management firm Lyles, Wiesmann and Pizzotti, where he provides strategic planning, legislative advocacy, political consulting, contract negotiations, labor and disciplinary representation for the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians. In his role as chief lobbyist, Mr. Pizzotti represents CAPT at legislative hearings related to public employee labor, safety, working conditions, wages and benefits. He is also CAPT’s voice on state hospital safety issues and for the developmental center closures. He testifies at policy hearings affecting PT licenses and fees, and advises the CAPT Board of Directors and Political Action Committee on political campaigns and independent expenditures.
He has worked for four individual legislators, Assembly speakers Herb Wesson and Fabian Nunez, labor organizations and political campaigns. Mr. Pizzotti’s experience with labor and politics dates back nearly 20 years. He has been active developing public policy, writing laws and creating legislative and political strategies. As a consultant to Assembly Speakers Herb J. Wesson, Jr. and Fabian Núñez, Mr. Pizzotti drafted political positions for the California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. More recently, Mr. Pizzotti served six years as a political advocate for the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.
Coby and his lovely wife Jennifer have a four year old daughter that will soon be joining the Washington Unified School District.
Alicia Cruz, Trustee (Past President) resident of West Sacramento for 40+ years. She is a graduate of River City High School and has 2 children both attending/attended Washington Unified Schools. She currently works for Sacramento Superior Court, Juvenile Division. She is a Chef and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Sacramento.
Board Member Cruz was elected to the Board of Education in November, 2012. She is serving her second term. She has served on all sub-committees while on the Board i.e., the Curriculum Committee, 2x2 (partnership with City), YCSBA (Yolo County School Board Association). She attends conferences and WUSD events as her time allows.
Shortly after being appointed as past President, it was apparent to her that the District needed to be brought up to the 21st century. Mrs. Cruz, along with fellow board members hired a new superintendent. She attends various school events and you may often see her at sporting events at the high school. She has been instrumental in increasing bus transportation, anti-bullying programs, VAPA programs and an advocate for school gardens at each site. She believes in aggressive efforts to increase equity throughout the District and school sites. Her focus on safety, a healthy environment and opportunities for all students keep her visible in the community and meeting with many community members.
Previously, Mrs. Cruz served on the River City High School Athletic Booster Club Board, PTSA President at Riverbank Elementary, Board Member of BBCAN (Bryte, Broderick Community Action Network) and has Chaired various community events.
Currently she is working on guaranteeing every student in the district has access to a college-preparatory curriculum and programs. She enjoys talking with community members about school ideas and issues. And looks forward to the District moving forward with endless possibilities for the students of West Sacramento
Sarah Kirby-Gonzlalez was first elected to the WUSD School Board on March 5, 2013 in a special election. She was elected again on November 4, 2014 to a full, four-year-term. Sarah has served on the UP4WS Preschool Commission and currently sits on the City/School 2x2 as well as Curriculum Council. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, 2011 Folsom Cordova Unified School District Teacher of the Year, and Area3 Writing Project Teacher Consultant. Sarah has devoted a significant part of her career outside her own classroom – improving the quality of education by training and mentoring teachers and modeling best practices. Sarah currently teaches fifth grade in Rancho Cordova.
Passionate about education, Sarah ran for school board because she wanted the teacher voice to go beyond the walls of the classroom and influence policy decisions. She wants all of the community to have high-quality neighborhood schools they are proud of.
Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree, with an emphasis in child development, from Sacramento State University in 2003. She then went on to earn her teaching credential in 2004 and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2008.
Sarah has been a resident of West Sacramento since 2007 and is a wife and mother to two young daughters -- a kindergartner in WUSD and a preschooler. Outside of her role on the WUSD Board, Sarah serves as a Board member on Bridgeway Play, a group of parents focused on improving the play opportunities for West Sacramento kids.