Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, M.S.W is the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for GRACE, an anti-poverty organization that manages the End Child Poverty in CA Campaign (ECPCA) aimed at ending deep child poverty and reducing child poverty in CA. Under her leadership, in coalition with several anti-poverty advocates, ECPCA was able to secure over $4 Billion in new funding to address child poverty, with a significant investment in education programs.
She was formerly 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 who is currently enrolled in the Washington Unified School District.
Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez was first elected to the WUSD School Board in a special election in March 2013. She was elected again in November 2014 to a full, four-year-term. Sarah has served on the UP4WS Preschool Commission, the City/School District 2x2 Committee, and currently serves on the WUSD Curriculum Council.
She is a National Board Certified Teacher, 2011 Folsom Cordova Unified School District Teacher of the Year, and Area 3 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. She serves on the College of Education Advisory Board for Sacramento State University. Sarah currently teaches fifth grade in Rancho Cordova.
Sarah served as president of the School Board from 2016-2017. Since becoming a district trustee, she has helped lead the hiring of Superintendent Linda Luna and supported the expansion of visual and performing arts programs, social-emotional supports for students, school gardens, and preparing students for the world beyond WUSD by expanding high school pathways, options, and supports. She was a champion of voter-approved Measure V and has helped assure that the bond directly improves the learning environment for West Sacramento students. She also helped establish the annual District Appreciation Celebration that honors outstanding teachers and district staff every spring during a River Cats game at Raley Field.
Passionate about education, Sarah ran for school board because she feels teachers – who are immersed in our children’s education every day – should have a voice in policy-making. Her focus continues to be to improve neighborhood schools that parents, students, teachers and the community can be 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 and her husband have been residents of West Sacramento since 2007, raising two young children – a preschooler and a second grader in WUSD. 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. She was an assistant coach in West Sacramento's recreational U8 girls soccer league and is currently a Girl Scouts Co-Troop Leader.
Norma Alcala is the President of the Washington Unified School District. Norma is an innovator.
First elected to the Washington Unified School District in 2014, Norma has served as a voice for parents and students in the district. She is past Vice President of the Yolo County School Board Association, and member of the Up for West Sac Pre School Committees. Currently she serves on the WUSD 2 x 2 Committee which works to coordinate WUSD and City of West Sacramento collaborative efforts. In the past, Norma has also served on the WUSD Curriculum Committee.
For the last two years, Norma has been the Director of the California High School Voter Registration Project. Norma works with retired Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, the League of Women Voters and numerous grassroots community organizations and unions to register voters throughout the state. In the last 24 months, Norma has registered nearly 10,000 high school students in school districts across the state. For the last three years, Norma registered the high school Junior and Senior classes at River City High School, Norma believes that high school registration builds a culture of voting and civic engagement that creates a base for democracy. She has conducted high school voter registration training to women all over the state and most recently in Fresno, Pleasanton, and Tuolumne.
Norma is extremely active in the West Sacramento community as a volunteer. She is the current President of the West Sacramento League of Women Voters and the West Sacramento chapter of LULAC. Founded in 1930, LULAC is the Latino American equivalent of the NAACP. Norma has served as Past President of the Holy Cross Parish Council and Past President of the Holy Cross Altar Society. At Holy Cross, she served as Director of the Sunday School program. Norma took the children to sing at the Senior Center, take food to the poor, and volunteer at the annual Holy Cross Fair. Norma volunteers at the St Vincent De Paul Food Bank. For years, Norma organized the annual Holy Cross Festival. She is past President of SEIU 1000/Local 768 Sacramento California State Employees. Norma has been a leading community advocated for single member districts in WUSD.
Previously, Norma worked for the California legislature for ten years. She is also a former small business owner. As a small business owner, she learned to appreciate the responsibility of earning payroll every two weeks.
The Yolo Concilio awarded her the prestigious Yolo County Woman of the Year award. In 2016 she was a surrogate for Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. In May 2016, she was the introductory speaker for Bernie Sanders at Bonney Field attended by 21,000 people. Norma’s proudest work is her support for getting women elected to office and supporting other women to become leaders. Norma has received awards as Mentor of the Year from both UC Davis Young Dems and Sac State Young Dems. John Burton awarded her the California Outstanding Volunteer and Innovator Award. She is a former member of the Yolo County Grand Jury. She has twice been selected as a national delegate to national Presidential Endorsement Conventions.
Norma Alcala and her husband, Carlos Alcala, live in Broderick. They have five grown children and ten young grandchildren. Norma encourages the community to reach out to her at 916 821-9639.