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Regional Training Academy Coordination Project Undergoes Staff Changes

Editor's Note: Since this was written (February 24, 2017), Interim Director Joanne Pritchard announced she has just accepted a position as Special Projects Manager with ICF, Center for States. 

Marcy Hara Is CalSWEC's Director of In-Service Training, Effective June 5, 2017


February 24, 2017

The Regional Training Academy (RTA) Coordination Project is undergoing some staffing changes, with the departure of Director Melissa Connelly and Assistant Director Jennifer Cannell, announced CalSWEC Executive Director Virginia Rondero Hernandez,

CalSWEC will begin its recruitment of a new Director of the RTA Coordination Project shortly. Meanwhile, Training and Curriculum Specialist Joanne Pritchard will serve as Interim Director.

RELATED: Spotlight on the RTA Project

“We are grateful for the contributions that Melissa and Jennifer have provided at CalSWEC,” said Dr. Rondero Hernandez. “Melissa has provided significant leadership in partnership with the five academies across the state to deliver essential trainings for the California child welfare workforce. “She, along with Jennifer, has also provided CalSWEC the vision needed to develop the recently implemented Common Core 3.0 Curriculum for new child welfare social workers and promote the implementation of the California Child Welfare Core Practice Model with county partners.

“We will miss them both and value what they have contributed to this organization.” 

Director Connelly Goes to San Francisco County

Ms. Connelly has accepted a position with San Francisco County as Child Welfare Workforce Development Manager, effective the end of February.

In her new position, she will oversee and coordinate the Family and Children's Services (FCS) Workforce Development Team, which provides a structured training and coaching program for new and existing FCS employees, and FCS interns. With a goal of meeting requirements set forth by the federal, state and city laws, Ms. Connelly will supervise a team of training coordinators, coaches, and protective services workers providing unit-based training and coaching. She will also collaborate with the Bay Area Title IV-E universities and the Bay Area Regional Training Academy (BAA) to implement Common Core training and Title IV-E field education.

Ms. Connelly joined the RTA Coordination Project in 2008 as a training and curriculum specialist. She served briefly as Interim Director of In-Service Training until being named Director in October 2014.

RELATED: Dedicated RTA Staff Deliver

"This transition is bittersweet,” she said. She expressed her appreciation to her colleagues, saying, “I have learned so much from all of you during my time here. Together we have sustained and improved the statewide workforce development system in California, and I'm confident that the good work that we all do will continue moving forward.”

Ms. Connelly, whose background includes 10 years of child welfare direct service as a social worker and supervisor, added, “I'm excited to be returning to county work, and I look forward to joining the workforce development team in San Francisco.”

Assistant Director Cannell Joins Center for States 

Ms. Cannell has accepted a position as Consultant Coordinator at ICF with the Center for States. She will depart CalSWEC at the end of February.

In her role, Ms. Cannell will be responsible for coordinating the consultants who deliver tailored services to child welfare agencies across the country. Consultants work with agencies to conduct needs assessments, develop work plans, and provide capacity building services aimed at improving services and outcomes. she will coordinate a pool of consultants from around the country.

Ms. Cannell joined CalSWEC as a training and curriculum specialist in 2015. During the past two years, she has led the complex Common Core 3.0 statewide revision efforts, serving as the coordinator internally and externally.

Of Common Core 3.0, Ms. Cannell said, “This project has provided me with the experience and confidence to reach for a position outside of my comfort zone. Even though I will miss my colleagues and the company, I am looking forward to this new challenge and to starting a new phase of my career.”