Sonoma County Office of Education

Employee Spotlight: Christi Calson

12/07/2023 - Christin Perrill

Christi Calson

Years at SCOE:
This is my fourth year.

Job Title:
CTE Pathway Coordinator

How do you describe your job to people outside SCOE?

My job is basically to help create, improve, and support career technical education (CTE) programs in all of our Sonoma County high schools. I also serve as a bridge between the high schools, the community college system, and the larger community to help ensure that all students who graduate from our schools have the knowledge, the skills, and the agency to be successful pursuing their own paths.

Where did you grow up?
My dad was in the service for the first five years of my life, so we lived in Colorado and then Missouri; we moved to Ukiah right before I started kindergarten, and I had a lovely childhood growing up in that community.

Who was your favorite childhood teacher and why?
I had a number of fabulous teachers, which, no doubt, contributed to my desire to become a teacher myself. Among them, I have to include my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Patten, who nurtured my creative efforts by feeding me books she thought I’d like and asking me to read the “novel” I wrote, the simply titled “Jan and John Mystery,” to my classmates during circle time. In high school, Señor Taylor was my highly esteemed Spanish teacher; he engaged the class by teaching us vocabulary through slides of his trips to Mexico and Japan, and the weekly “charlas” we wrote about our day-to-day activities immensely improved my Spanish skills. Mr. Boynton taught me to think critically and deeply about world religions, political systems, and other concepts of world history; he took a group of us to visit what was still, in the late 1980s, the Soviet Union. While all three of these folks were skilled educators, what perhaps solidifies them in my memory is their capacity to build relationships with students; to humanize themselves with humor and honesty; to model kindness, compassion, and respect; to help me start to define what matters to me as a human being beyond the walls of school.

What is your favorite thing about SCOE?
The people! Everyone is so nice and we all work hard toward the same goal of serving the schools and students of Sonoma County.

What is one of your most memorable moments as a SCOE employee?
When I first started working at SCOE, still as a Teacher on Loan, we were in the heart of the pandemic. As a member of a brand new team, still unsure of what my job or our collective work even looked like, I spent many hours on Zoom from my bedroom “office” – a time I will forever remember. I participated in a gazillion meetings, engaged in amazing team building sessions with my new colleagues, participated in student interview panels, collaborated with teachers around the county, and connected with my fellow Pathway Coordinators all over the Bay Area, all without leaving home.

Outside of work, what is your favorite hobby or way to unwind?
I love spending time outdoors, often walking or hiking with my dogs, friends, and family; the woods and the ocean are especially conducive to unwinding. Creative writing is a passion I make time for as much as possible.

Do you have a favorite TV show, movie or book that involves a school setting?
There are so many great children’s and young adult books that involve school. I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books as a kid myself and got to enjoy them all over again reading them to my own children. Anne of Green Gables was a huge favorite of mine growing up, as well. My daughter is a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and we had a lot of fun reading those books together. One of my all-time favorite picture books, Boomer Goes to School, tells the story of a golden retriever who wreaks joyful havoc when he spends the day at school with his little boy.

What is your favorite place in Sonoma County?
Sonoma County in the fall is gorgeous – it’s impossible to choose one place!

What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I have participated in a great deal of community theater over the years, as both an actor and as a stage manager. One of my favorite all-time roles was playing Belinda/Flavia in Noises Off.