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An Exceptional Leader with Long Service to the District

Longtime Community Member

Joanne and her husband, Tom, have lived in the MDUSD community for over 30 years and both of their children attended MDUSD schools.  During her 37 year career with MDUSD, Joanne held classified positions, certificated teaching positions and administrator positions.   She also worked with various schools and staff from throughout the district.  For the last 10 years of her career, she was the Director of Adult and College & Career Education, which involved working with elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and the large adult school.

A Leader Who Gets Things Done

Joanne was responsible for growing a comprehensive adult education program serving over 10,000 (and an all time high of over 22,000) students each year.  Program areas include: Career Technical Education, ESL/Citizenship, Adult Basic and Secondary Education, Adults with Disabilities, Parent Education, and Lifelong Education.  

Key accomplishments

  • Secured and managed funding from multiple sources, including State Department of Education, federal, regional public agencies focused on special populations, foundations, and fees, at highest level totaling over 6 million dollars.

  • Under her leadership, student outcomes were measured and improved, including number of students earning a high school diploma or GED, number of students transitioning to higher education or military, and number of students obtaining employment.

  • Successfully advocated for the value and importance of Adult Education programs throughout California communities, warding off elimination of Adult Education and ensuring continued funding specifically for Adult Education.

  • Developed multiple partnerships and collaborative programs, leveraging an array of public and private resources, including with local employers providing externship experiences for students

Joanne was also responsible for Career Education for MDUSD and supported and developed career pathways and career technical education at all comprehensive high schools.  She facilitated participation of teachers, students, administrators, parents, community members, post-secondary representatives, and business/labor representatives on the Career Integrated Academics committee, providing oversight and input to MDUSD’s career pathway design and performance.

Key accomplishments

  • In partnership with Concord Chamber of Commerce, Contra Costa Economic Partnership, Office of Education of Contra Costa, John Muir Health and many other local businesses, organized a teacher job shadowing event annually, to provide teachers with an inside view of the workplace related to their areas of instruction.

  • Facilitated Career Technical Education programs’ receipt of federal Carl Perkins supplemental funds to support professional development, instructional materials, and expanded experiences for students.

  • Served as a member of the steering committee for the Diablo Gateways to Innovation Career Pathways Trust Fund, a multiple district and college collaboration to develop and expand career pathways, K12 to Community Colleges.

Other Career Experiences/Accomplishments

  • Part of the Community Schools expansion movement in MDUSD in late 70s

  • MDUSD Gender Equity Representative for Carl Perkins funding

  • Co-Coordinated over several years a successful multi-generational career conference for Latina/Chicana high school students and their mothers, Adelante Mujer

  • Instrumental in the launching of parent education and family literacy preschool programs at multiple elementary schools.

A Leader Who Assumes Responsibility Regularly!

  • East Bay Leadership Council, Board Member and Chair of Workforce/Education Task Force

  • Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, Board Member and Chair of the Education Committee

  • Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County, Board Member and Youth Council, member

  • California Department of Education, Adult Education Division, Committee Representative

  • California Association of Leaders in Career Preparation, President, State Legislative Chair

  • California Council for Adult Education, Bay Area Section Legislative Chair, State Board

  • Career Technical Education Representative, State Board Secretary

  • Coastal Council Vocational Education Association, Vice-President, Treasurer, Program Chair

  • California Displaced Homemakers Network, President and Co-Founder  

  • Women Work! The National Network for Women's Employment, Regional Representative 

A Recognized Leader!

  • California Council for Adult Education Robert W. Rupert Award winner (2015)  

  • California Council for Adult Education George C. Mann Award winner (2010)

  • California Council for Adult Education Donald A. McCune Collaboration Award (1998)

  • Concord Status of Women Commission, Women Helping Women Award (1996) 

  • Soroptomist International of Diablo Valley, Very Important Woman Award (1992) 

  • California Commission on the Status of Women, California Woman Commendation (1992)

Joanne and her husband Tom celebrating their fortieth anniversary on the Fourth of July. Both of Joanne Durkee's children attended MDUSD schools.

Joanne Durkee is a recognized leader. Here Joanne is receiving the Robert W. Rupert Award from the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) in 2015. You can read more about Joanne's receipt of the Rupert award here, and about her receipt of the CCAE's Life Membership Award here

Joanne Durkee with Dr. David Stern, Emeritus Professor of Education at UC Berkeley and Principal Investigator for the Career Academy Support Network.

Joanne Durkee at a recent meeting with Marilyn Fowler, Executive Director of the Concord Chamber of Commerce. Joanne is a past Board member of the Chamber and Chair of its Education Committee.

Joanne Durkee with District Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer and Jennifer Sachs, Executive Director, MDUSD Instructional Support at MDUSD's 2nd Annual Back-to-School Parent Conference in August. 

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