Meet the Governing Board

MARK DYKEN

 

I have lived in Vallecito with my wife, Laura for over 30 years.  Our two adult children attended Michelson and Avery and a third is currently in 8th grade at Avery.  I retired in 2020 after more than 20 years in education most recently serving as Director of the Jamestown Family Resource Center and the Homeless and Foster Youth Education Liaison for the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools office.  

 

I am the co-founder and executive director of Resiliency Village, a start-up non-profit focused on a trauma healing approach to ending homelessness.  For over 30 years I have worked with underserved populations in education, youth development, and community organizing. 

 

I am a trainer and motivational public speaker on the topics of trauma-informed education, homelessness, community activism, and related subjects.

P.O. Box 329

Avery, CA  95224

mdyken@vsd.k12.ca.us

 

JESSICA HITCHCOCK

 

I am a dedicated mom, wife, and public policy leader. I was appointed to the Vallecito Union School District board in March 2022 and am committed to ensuring children in this district have access to a high-quality education.  I strongly believe that it takes a village to raise our kids. 

 

My children are students at Michelson Elementary, and my husband attended Hazel Fischer and Avery Middle School. In 2020, I served on the COVID reopening committee, and our district was among the first in California to have an opportunity for safe, in-person learning during the pandemic, which speaks volumes to the dedication of teachers, staff, and parents in this district.  I care deeply about ensuring children are mastering fundamental skills while also developing a lifelong love for learning and curiosity about this world.

 

Professionally, I am the founder of Urban Math, an urban economics consulting firm that specializes in affordable housing policy for cities across California. I have a BS and Masters from UC Berkeley in Business Administration and City Planning and am a self-proclaimed data geek, which means I like digging into the details of how things work and providing tangible solutions for everyday problems. On weekends, you’ll find me cooking up a storm or devouring a book.  I am thrilled to have an opportunity to serve on the VUSD Board and to contribute to this community. 

 

 

P.O. Box 329

Avery, CA  95224

jhitchcock@vsd.k12.ca.us

 

 

SHANNON SIMPSON

 

I am a stay-at-home mom to four children, two of whom are current Michelson Elementary students. My educational and professional backgrounds are in Biology, and Clinical Wound Care. I have a strong passion for enabling girls to succeed in STEM fields. While a student at Utah Valley University, I served as the Editor of the Honors Journal and was an Outstanding Merit Scholar. I am currently a member of the Michelson Parents Club Executive Board.

 

My wife and I moved to Murphys in 2020, and have absolutely fallen in love with this idyllic community. I am thrilled at this opportunity to support our educators in their mission to provide an exceptional education for all. My primary goals as a member of the VUSD Governing Board are to celebrate diversity, champion individual liberty, and focus on kindness. 

 

 

P.O. Box 329

Avery, CA  95224

shannon.simpson@vsd.k12.ca.us

 

 
 
 

SUSAN SINGLETON

 

I was an Army Brat growing up, attending eight different schools through the years before I graduated from high school in San Francisco. My bachelor’s degree was in English from the University of California at Berkeley.  I then received my California Teaching Credential for K-8 from California State University Hayward in the specialized inner-city program. I began teaching in Oakland, California, but my first full-time teaching job was in Tasmania, Australia.

 

Our family moved to Calaveras County thirty years ago, in 1986. My children attended Vallecito Union School District Schools and all three graduated from Bret Harte High School.

 

I retired from teaching in June 2016, after serving 20 years in the Vallecito Union School District.  During my years at VUSD, I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students at both Hazel Fischer Elementary and Albert Michelson Elementary. As a staff member, I helped introduce several new curriculum's, technological developments, and social programs. We made every effort to make the learning experience for the children as rewarding as possible.  What a joy it has been to see our students return to visit as accomplished young adults.

 

I look forward to serving my community and schools as a school board member and feel that because of my experience in education, I have unique insight into the needs of the children. I hope to continue the quality education Vallecito provides and make a positive difference in the future of our children.

 

P.O. Box 329

Avery, CA  95224

ssingleton@vsd.k12.ca.us

 

JODI SLEDGE

My husband and I have lived in Calaveras County for 34 years and both graduated from Bret Harte High School. After graduating high school, I moved to Los Angeles to spread my wings with my career in training horses as well as my professional career in Administration and Management

Missing that hometown feel that we all love, I moved back to Calaveras County in 2006 and shortly after I began working for Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown.  In 2012, my husband and I both decided that I would become a stay at home mother to our daughter.  In 2015 we welcomed our son. We now have two beautiful children who currently attend Hazel Fischer Elementary. 

Last year I felt it was time to return to the workforce and received a job as the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Sonora. Throughout my professional career, I have worked to solve problems for the people and communities I have worked with and been a part of. I believe there is always a solution to a problem, although it is not always the simplest or easiest answer.  It is important to think “outside the box” to find answers and I am willing and prepared to engage, listen and collaborate with others to find the best solutions to the issues impacting our students at VUSD.

What I would like to accomplish as a board member would be to make sure that we are focusing on our students‘ achievements, emotional needs, establishing an effective and efficient structure for their futures and the district’s vision and goals.  I want to ensure that every deliberation, decision and action reflect the best interests of every student we serve.  I look forward to serving our district and community. 

 

P.O. Box 329

Avery, CA  95224

jsledge@vsd.k12.ca.us