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A former San Juan schools administrator is taking charge of the child development division of the California Department of Education after more than eight months with no one in the top post.
Debra McMannis, who coordinated early learning programs at San Juan Unified, near Sacramento, has been named to succeed Camile Maben in the education department. Maben moved to First 5 California, the state-funded agency that works on improving and expanding existing child care and education services in the state, in December 2012. The state position had been vacant until McMannis was hired. She began work this week, officials said.
McMannis will have her work cut out for her. The child development division is responsible for coordinating the state’s public preschool program, providing child care for welfare and CalWorks’ recipients and enforcing compliance with state licensing law for child care and education facilities. The division operated on a $2.2 billion budget in 20012-13, having lost $1 billion in funding since the start of the recession in 2008. An additional $55 million authorized in the 2013-14 budget should bring that total up this year. An ongoing problem for the division has been that it cannot afford to provide services for all the children in the state who are eligible under state law.
At San Juan Unified, McMannis was in charge of implementing state and federal early learning programs. In that position, she worked with the California State Preschool Program, the federal Head Start and Early Head Start programs and the state’s Program for Infant and Toddler Care, among other programs. McMannis holds a bachelor’s degree in human development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.
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