A key player in any district office these days is the webmaster. A web presence is crucial to any LEA in 21st century education.
The Riverside County Office of Education is fortunate to have one of the best in Kathy Beglau, who has been named ACSA’s 2012 Classified Leader of the Year.
Beglau has been with RCOE for 12 years. She got her start in the world of education working for the University of Kansas as a federal grant project coordinator in the Special Education Department. After that, she worked in web development in the aerospace industry.
Then in 2000, she returned to education with RCOE.
“What drew me to the Riverside County Office of Education was the opportunity to continue my web career in the field that I find most rewarding, education,” Beglau said.
Beglau is noted for her hard work and willingness to take on new projects. One such project was her work on Come Back Kids, a successful social media presence on Facebook designed to increase dropout recovery.
“Come Back Kids does an amazing job connecting with students who have dropped out of high school and providing them a path to completing their education,” Beglau said.
As webmaster, she worked closely with the program to ensure it effectively uses the web for outreach efforts. The project is now focusing on utilizing social media to reach potential students. This year Come Back Kids had 400 students graduate.
“That’s 400 students who have just increased their earning potential, lowered their chances of being incarcerated, and experienced the satisfaction of achieving a positive, personal goal,” Beglau said. “That is important work, and I’m proud to have a role in connecting these students to this outstanding program.”
Beglau is also lauded for her efforts on Riverside County History Day, the Academic Decathlon and Academic Pentathlon. She notes that her first year with RCOE coincided with the first year that the Riverside County History Day included websites in its competition.
“Our student events coordinator at the time came to me desperately seeking assistance,” she said. “I helped organize the web competition that year, and have not missed a year since. I’ve judged several events at Academic Decathlon and Pentathlon competitions over the years, and now provide the judges’ orientation for the interview competition at Decathlon.
“Student events are my opportunity to interact with the students and see the tremendous dedication and focus they put into their projects and studies. It’s also my chance to work with parents, staff and volunteers who all are there to support students and the educational process. It is very rewarding, and each event re-energizes my own work.”
Beglau is also very active in her ACSA membership. She has served numerous roles in Region 19 leadership and last year presented “ACSA 101” at the Regions 12 and 19 Leadership Conference.
“Being involved in ACSA has been invaluable to my career,” Beglau said. “In my role as a classified educational leader, I have a very specific role in my organization and, honestly, don’t get out from behind my computer much. ACSA gives me the opportunity to meet the people who know my work, but would have no opportunity or reason to know me. Making these personal connections gives me insight to the value of the work I do, and to the improvements I can make to better serve our education community.”
She said ACSA also keeps her informed on K-12 issues through discussions at charter and region meetings, as well as through publications and mailings from state ACSA.
“I am more engaged in the work I do and a better employee because I am part of a larger conversation about education in our local area, in California, and in the nation,” Beglau said. “Being active in ACSA has given me the opportunity to be seen as a leader in education, but more importantly, it has given me the opportunity to meet and work with incredible leaders in education, both locally and statewide who inspire me to be a better leader.”
And she has become such a good leader that she is now receiving a well-deserved statewide honor.
“I was truly honored and humbled to receive this award,” Beglau said. “I know the caliber of the leaders in ACSA, and to even be considered among them is an honor. While I may be the one accepting the award, it really reflects the leadership of Region 19 and extraordinary service provided by our county office. I am proud to be part of both teams and honored that our work is being recognized.”
Beglau will be honored along with fellow award recipients at the 2012 ACSA Leadership Summit, Nov. 8-10 in San Diego. Register by July 15 for only $279. Visit www.acsa.org/leadershipsummit for details.
Access photos of award recipients at www.flickr.com/photos/acsaevents.