An excellent education is one of the keys to our children’s future success.

JUNE 2013


We look back on this school year as one with challenges and great accomplishments for WCEF. Our first challenge came at Welcome Back Days as the WCSD introduced a new online registration system. While helpful in streamlining student information, the new format exposed a few glitches for WCEF that resulted in a shortfall of donations. Fortunately with a strong rally from generous parent donations and the success of events like the Turkey Trot and Play It Forward, we came very close to meeting our funding commitments for 2012-2013.

In March we were devastated by the loss of former WCEF Board member and Foundation advocate, Susan Bigham. Because of Susan’s dedication to the Foundation, her family named WCEF as a recipient organization for donations honoring Susan. Through your gifts, Susan’s dedication to children and her love of learning will continue in the programs WCEF provides to all our students K-12. Her impact on our community will be cherished for a long time to come.

This year’s successes are due to the many family, business and community members who contribute to give our children a great education. Thank you to the many dedicated volunteers that gave a great deal of time and talent to the Foundation. All of our children benefit from the investment we all make to bring programs and personnel to our schools for an extraordinary education that we can no longer rely entirely on the State to fund.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the Foundation Presidents.

~ Joanne Hernandez
and Sharon Taplin


The Sum of the Parts Is Greater than the Whole: The Move Toward Collaborative Fundraising
Volunteers: We Couldn't Do It
Without You
2013-2014 WCEF Executive Board Announced
Wells Fargo Presents $10,000
Grant to WCEF
Business News
Recent Events
Las Lomas Student Receives Michael W. DeSa Memorial Scholarship
Upcoming Events
Technology Update
Rossmoor Club -
An Active Contingent
to all those who have already made their 2013-2014 school year commitment.
Click here to see the list.

"Thanks to WCEF I enjoy the privilege of learning with and from my colleagues. When my students go to Art, Music & PE, I meet with my grade level colleagues and we plan, half of the time with our coach, for how best to teach our students. I cannot begin to list the ways my teaching has improved because of this collaborative time, but I promise that what I learn directly affects students because we are always working hard to become better teachers."

Judy Mazur, Teacher, Grade 5 Buena Vista Elementary



The Sum of the Parts Is Greater than the Whole:
The Move Toward Collaborative Fundraising

Just as the 2012-13 school year was nearing completion, a room full of dedicated parents, administrators and governing board members convened to deliberate the plausibility of local collaborative fundraising. The meeting took place on Monday, June 3, 2013. In attendance were the WCSD Superintendent and governing board members, principals from WCSD schools, incoming and outgoing presidents of parent organizations, board members of WCEF, and others. Collaborative fundraising is a strategic approach to raising funds from a limited resource pool. The group was learning about the new fundraising model that many non-profits are moving towards as an option to consider for the site parent organizations and WCEF to work together to raise funds necessary to continue to preserve and enhance the education of our students.

Attendees quickly identified the advantages of collaborative fundraising. There would be the ability to combine resources, to eliminate duplicate efforts, and to work mutually toward our shared goals. Working together would reduce confusion about what parent organizations fund and what WCEF funds. The biggest benefit would be a more unified approach to working with our community to continue to support our students.

This meeting was the first of many to learn about this new funding model. The group will reconvene in August to hear from some of our surrounding communities who are having good success with this approach and are willing to inform the process here. There are many details to consider and specifics to work out, but this fall, “working together” may have a more dynamic meaning for WCEF and our parent organizations. Through this collaboration, the sum of the parts may surpass the whole.

Volunteers: We Couldn't Do It Without You

The Walnut Creek Education Foundation is primarily a volunteer run organization that was founded to raise money to provide a superior education for our children. We, at WCEF, want to thank you for the personal contribution of your time in volunteering for one or many of our activities throughout the year. Meet our WCEF volunteers. You donated many precious hours of your time to help with:

  • Welcome Back Days/TRI-S
  • Back to School Nights
  • Downtown Business Association Wine Walk
  • Turkey Trot (200+ volunteers)
  • Las Lomas Homecoming Tailgater Sports Basement Back to School Shopping Days and our Holiday Fundraiser Play it Forward Benefit Concert Open Houses K-12

Without you, we would not have been able to hold these wonderful events that helped raise money for our children. Your role is vital to the success of our organization and we appreciate your willingness to work hard for our kids. Thank you for volunteering!

~ Allison Ridenhour WCEF Volunteer Chair

2013-2014 WCEF Executive Board Announced

The 2013-2014 WCEF Executive Board was elected on May 15, 2013. We are grateful to the following individuals for volunteering their time and talents to benefit all our students K-12!

President – OPEN
VP Administration – Vera Caulfield
Secretary – Barbara Cyphers
Treasurer – Eva Santelli
VP Fundraising – Stacy Howard
VP Communications – Sue Frost
VP Business/Community – Kuldip Chohan/Tim Schultz
VP Parent Development (Site) – OPEN
Rossmoor Chair – April O’Dea
Auditor – Lorraine Souder
BV Site Representative – Tina Chung/Open
IV Site Representative – Katy Grant/Peter Amen
MW Site Representative – Open/Open
PM Site Representative – Open/Open
WH Site Representative – Heidi Gatty/Open
WCI Site Representative – Kymberly Johnson/Traci Beeby
LLHS Site Representative – Lisa Sun/Open

Share your passion: Impact the lives of over 5,000 students. If you would like any information about the Open Positions listed above or are interested in volunteering in any capacity with WCEF please contact Vera Caulfield at or Liz Davis at Thank you!

Wells Fargo Presents $10,000 Grant to WCEF

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Wells Fargo presented a check for $10,000 to WCEF. WCEF was one of sixteen school districts or foundations that received a supporting grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Bob Ceglio, Mount Diablo president for Wells Fargo presented the grants. “In addition to the countless hours that our team members spend volunteering in local schools, we are proud to provide funding to schools throughout Contra Costa County,” said Ceglio. “By hosting this event and providing funding to schools, we want to personally say ‘thank you’ to the educators in our communities and provide resources to help purchase schools supplies or other pressing needs.”

Wells Fargo has donated over $1.4 million in education funding in Contra Costa County since 2010. This is the third year that WCEF has been a recipient of this grant which goes into the general fund to support academic programs and personnel for all students at Buena Vista Elementary, Indian Valley Elementary, Murwood Elementary, Parkmead Elementary, Walnut Heights Elementary, Walnut Creek Intermediate and Las Lomas High School.

Business News

WCEF is grateful to the businesses in and around Walnut Creek that have partnered with us during the 2012-2013 school year – together we have raised over $75,000 to support our students!

One way to partner with WCEF is through the First Friday Business Program, distributed via email on the First Friday of every month. First Friday is an e-newsletter that features local businesses, many parent–owned, who support WCEF and all our students with their advertisements. Many of these businesses feature exclusive savings to our community and give-backs to WCEF that are good for the whole month. We would like to thank the following First Friday Partners: Admit One College Advising, Advanced Upper Cervical Chiropractic, Dr. Tom Scovel, Extreme Pizza WC, Honey Bear Trees, Il Sorrento Restaurant, Itrim, Kelly Moore Paints, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Solar Universe, Sports Basement, Suma O’Farrell, Sungevity, Tutor Doctor, and the Walnut Creek Magazine.

Beyond the First Friday Program, WCEF offers many ways for businesses to partner with the Foundation in support of our students. Many events were held throughout the year raising significant funds. Other businesses chose to support the Foundation with a one-time donation, in-kind donations (over $20,000) or ongoing promotions over the course of the school year. We would like to thank the following businesses for their support: Robert Anthony Strategic Marketing and Design, FORMA GYM (Home of the Turkey Trot!), Wells Fargo Bank, Alphagraphics, Heritage Bank, Bank of the West, Minute Man Press of Lafayette, WC Chamber of Commerce, Whole Foods, Wine Thieves, Sports Basement, Mechanics Bank, Quality Funding, WC Downtown Business Association, Rubens Nunnemaker, LLP, JEI Learning, Wesley Ashley Wines, Clean Solar, Walnut Creek Pediatric Dentistry, Roy Cox Productions, and Unity Music Foundation.

Business owners and corporations understand that partnering with a great school district and reaching thousands of families with their message, product or service is a powerful marketing tool that helps boost economic success. They also understand that ensuring our future business leaders and innovators receive an excellent education, starting in Kindergarten through the 12th grade, is one of the most important endeavors that they can undertake. With various ways to partner, the investment that our businesses and corporations make on behalf of our students creates a significant impact in the Walnut Creek School District and Las Lomas High School through WCEF and allows us to continue to offer top quality education for all. Please continue to support these businesses that support our children.

For more information or to become a business partner, contact WCEF Executive Director, Liz Davis at or call (925) 933-WCEF (9233).

Recent Events

It’s been a busy time of year for everyone, and at WCI, students have been making the most of their learning experiences. See highlights below.

Japan Days - Celebrating the culture of Japan, all WCI 7th grade students enjoyed a day of sushi making, Haiku scrolls, Origami Samurai hats, and traditional Japanese brush painting.

Greco-Roman Day - On June 4th, WCI 6th graders participate in a Field Day experience with Olympic based activities, celebrating their studies of Greece and Rome. Students also complete a review of all the cultures they have studied throughout the year.

Byzantine Bazaar - WCI 7th graders spent the June 4th reviewing the cultures they studied throughout the year. Students visited the lands of - Islam, Africa, Maya/Inca/Aztec and the Middle Ages. While at each station, students sample traditional foods, participate in games native to the land and learn new dance and art activities. All students participate in the Tournament of Knowledge Quiz station, where each group tests their knowledge of the social studies curriculum. After lunch, students participate in the Tournament of Knowledge finale and watch a Takio drumming exhibition.

Civil War Day - WCI 8th graders participated in a day in the life of a Civil War soldier experiencing camp life and a mock battle on May 24th. During the previous week, students learned marching skills from local Marines and observed a civil war re-enactor focusing on uniforms, equipment and firearms from infantry, artillery and Calvary soldiers. Students also prepared diary entries highlighting the experience.

Las Lomas Student Receives Michael W. DeSa Memorial Scholarship


The seventh annual Michael W. DeSa Memorial Scholarship administered by the Walnut Creek Education Foundation (WCEF), was awarded in the amount of $2,000.00 to Las Lomas High School senior, Sarah Borchardt. The scholarship was presented to Ms. Borchardt during Las Lomas High School Senior Awards Night held on Thursday, May 30th.

The DeSa Family chose Ms. Borchardt from among 10 Las Lomas seniors who applied for the scholarship. Her achievements exemplify the scholarship criterion, which seeks a well-rounded graduate of the Walnut Creek schools (attending K-12) who has nurtured life’s passions both in school and outside the confines of academia, through service in the community and other pursuits. After graduation from Las Lomas High School, Sarah will attend the University of Oregon and has yet to declare her major.

Consistent and successful involvement at school, in sports, in Wind Ensemble, and outside activities such as Younglife and youth ministries have been her passions throughout her school years. She has played woman’s lacrosse all four high school years, the last two at the varsity level and she has played soccer at the recreational level. Sarah considers herself a team player and enjoys the rewards and challenges of working together as a team. Through Christian ministries at her church she has volunteered as a mentor of middle school girls often underserved and overlooked, building her faith and inspiring them to keep up their own faith as they enter high school. She exhibits integrity and a warm and engaging sense of humor in all that she undertakes. Sarah’s future plans include working in journalism, possibly at a magazine, newspaper or as a social media writer with an emphasis on sports.

When Walnut Creek Superintendent Mike DeSa passed away in 2006, his family requested that donations be made in his name to the Walnut Creek Education Foundation. DeSa’s family, wife Lisa and children Caitlin and Sam, proposed using a portion of the funds to start a memorial scholarship fund to be administered by WCEF and awarded to seniors at Las Lomas High School. For more information about the Michael W. DeSa Memorial Scholarship or to make a donation, please contact Liz Davis, WCEF Executive Director by calling 925-933-WCEF (9233) or or

Upcoming Events

Come to the Sports Basement in Walnut Creek Back to School Shopping Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, August 17th and 18th from 9am to 7pm. You will get a 10% discount on anything you purchase and 10% of your purchase goes back to WCEF for our schools!

Walnut Creek Downtown Business Association Wine Walk fall event, Wednesday, September 18th , 6-9pm. Tickets go on sale in August at

Welcome Back Days/Tri-S:

WCI August 19 (3-7pm)
LLHS August 20
WCI August 21 (9-noon)
Murwood August 22 (8-11am and 5-7pm)
Buena Vista August 26
Parkmead August 26
Walnut Heights August 26
Indian Valley August 26
Technology Update


It’s an essential part of learning in school, students thrive using it, and it bolsters teaching efforts: how WCEF helps Las Lomas High School embrace The Technology Trifecta.

Learning in the year 2013 is vastly different than it was even ten years ago. Students are engaged in a world that moves much faster and information is shared at the speed of light. Those involved in education work hard to keep pace. Las Lomas students are fortunate to have the ability to use technology to their advantage, thanks in part to the efforts of WCEF.

WCEF raises funds for many different uses at our schools, but at Las Lomas High School, a good portion goes toward technology. Some of the funds are directed toward staff resources and some go toward equipment and supplies. Research has shown that additional equipment directly affects the engagement of students, and students who are more engaged enjoy the subject more and ultimately perform better. In the past few years, WCEF funds have been used to help purchase over 300 iPads and carts for students’ use and 10 iPads for teacher use. The teacher iPads are loaded with the Doceri application, which acts as an interactive whiteboard. WCEF has also purchased additional microscopes and probeware in the physical and biological sciences and Pasco probes for the physics classes. These probes allow students to take meaningful data in a way that more closely matches current research techniques used in the real world.

In addition to equipment upgrades, WCEF supplements two technology staff positions, resulting in additional computer lab hours and greater collaboration between technology staff and teachers. This funding provides one teacher with a full extra period, allowing him to work directly with staff to help incorporate technology such as iPads, iPods, smart phones, laptops, and science probeware into their pedagogy.

Thanks to individual and business donors, WCEF can help support students at Las Lomas High School and throughout Walnut Creek schools with the use of more widespread and current technology. It’s a difficult challenge to keep up with force of change in this day and age. WCEF is committed to doing just that.

Rossmoor Club – An Active Contingent

In 2012, WCEF became the sponsor of the Rossmoor Friends of the Walnut Creek Education Foundation Club. This club provides an opportunity for Rossmoor residents to keep abreast of current news and issues related to Rossmoor’s two school districts: the Walnut Creek School District (K-8) and the Acalanes Union High School District. All Rossmoor residents are invited to attend club meetings.

This spring the club held two meetings. The March 14 meeting featured a talk by Las Lomas High School science teacher and technology coordinator Mr. Peat Sutherland. Mr. Sutherland’s talk focused on technology in the classroom (see Technology Update article above). The presentation included a hands-on demonstration for attendees of how the iPad and Apple TV are used in the classrooms as well as how tech equipment is used in the science labs.

The meeting on May 30 featured a talk on Transitional Kindergarten by Ms. Lisa Cheney, Director of Curriculum Services for the Walnut Creek School District. Ms. Cheney discussed the district’s implementation of Transition Kindergarten: the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.

The fall 2013 meetings are scheduled for October 17 and December 12 at 4:00pm in Creekside Clubhouse Rooms I & II. Please contact April O’Dea at 210-1168 or for more information.

Funded Programs and Personnel 2013-2014

K-5 – Buena Vista, Indian Valley, Murwood, Parkmead,
Walnut Heights (WCSD)

  • Art. Music & Physical Education (27 weeks in cooperation with the WCSD)
  • Teacher Collaboration with Coach
  • Librarian Hours
  • ROPES Right of Passage Experiences (Grades 5)

6-8 Walnut Creek Intermediate (WCSD)

  • Teacher on Special Assignment (2nd Vice Principal)
  • Counselor
  • Librarian Hours
  • Campus Safety Supervisor
    (in cooperation with WCI)
  • Afterschool Homework Program
  • Visiting Artists Program
  • 6th Grade Orientation and
    WEB leaders
  • ROPES Right of Passage Experiences (Grades 7,8)

9-12 Las Lomas High School

  • Class Size Reduction
    (English 9,10,11)
  • Academic Electives (World History, US History, Algebra, Biology, Math Intervention)
  • Intervention Specialist (Crisis Counselor)
  • Nurse
  • Technology Coordinator
  • Computer Lab Technician/Extended Hours
  • Departmental Grants
  • Performing Arts Support
For more information or to donate visit
WCEF is a 501c3 non-profit organization, Federal Tax I.D. #94-2915151