MEET THE DIRECTOR

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Sandy Holman has presented to thousands of youth and adults on a variety of topics such as the achievement gap, early childhood education, literacy, resiliency, addressing the whole child, and character education. She has focused special attention on the importance of culturally relevant, responsive services and materials as well as increasing cultural competency in educational and service-oriented settings.

Sandy is the founder of the Culture C.O.-O.P., an organization she developed to assist people and organizations working with equity/diversity in education, businesses, and the community. She has served as a consultant to countless organizations, locally and nationally, to help meet the needs of diverse populations. She also has committed herself to advocacy for children and education. Her experiences as an educator, program coordinator, counselor, outreach consultant, prevention coordinator, equity specialist, and author have given her a practitioner’s insight into the challenges communities and organizations are facing that goes well beyond theoretical research. A few organizations she has worked with include the National Head Start Conference and regional affiliates, the United States Navy CYP conference with early childhood educators form around the world, the California Association for the Education of Young Children, the Center for Community and Family Services, the Women’s Health Leadership Project, Friday Night Live Youth programs, the Yolo Court Appointed Special Advocates, various state’s Reading Associations, school districts all over the country, countless national community organizations, early childhood programs, as well as social service and reading organizations. She spends at least half of her time working directly with youth of all ages, around a variety of topics and issues, and has a special commitment towards children tracked as high risk for dropping out of school.

Sandy received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Davis and her M.S. in School Counseling with a focus on Education from California State University, Sacramento. She has served on the Board of Directors of local and national agencies serving youth and adults, including the Youth Services Task Force, the National Dropout prevention network, Center for Regional Development, Progress Ranch group homes for emotionally disturbed children, and Yolo Unite, an organization serving youth and the community. She was recognized by Governor Wilson’s office with a Golden Rule award in the state of California for her implementation of a model parent involvement program at an “at risk” school. Sandy has also received several awards and acknowledgments for her work, presentations and books. A few of these include a National Head Start Association Award of Appreciation, a congressional recognition for her efforts in Community Education and Awareness named the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Award, the Thong Hy Huynh Education and Community Award, the Concilio Community Award, and a Woman of the Year Award at Congressman John Garamendi’s 3rd District Women's Meeting. Additionally, Sandy was inducted into the Youth on the Move International Educators Hall of Fame in 2016. She has received literature awards from Skipping Stones and Writer’s Digest for her children’s books. Sandy was also honored along with Al Gore, Quincy Jones, and other notable authors for her work in multi-cultural children’s literature at BookExpo in New York and received the Blackboard Children’s Book of the Year Award for her title Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad? Sandy currently serves on Congressman John Garamendi’s Women’s Initiative Network and many other advisory groups. 

Her books We All Have a Heritage, Grandma Says Our Hair Has Flair, and Grandpa, Is Everything Black Bad? are expanding the way people view literature for children and are being used in schools at all levels of education including training programs targeting educators. Booklist said in a review of one of her books that “Children will appreciate both the candor and the comfort.” School Library Journal said of the same book that “The message is worthwhile and important… especially in classrooms emphasizing cultural awareness.” Sandy has four other children’s books scheduled for release in the next couple of years. These titles include Love is the Root of All People, The Elders Speak, Peace is for People, and The Ultimate Hat. She refers to her books as bibliotherapy for the soul.

Sandy’s innovation in approaching a broad array of difficult issues has had a tremendous impact on those she has worked with. She practices what she calls “active research,” where theory is matched with application. She continues to work directly with many challenged youth and with those working with youth to demonstrate it is never too late to make a difference. She is known for her ability to facilitate people from different backgrounds to feel comfortable sharing their fears and concerns, while reaching out to and working with diverse populations. Sandy is truly inspirational and committed in all her endeavors and currently continues to work on quality multi-cultural literature, providing training for youth and adults, and promoting literacy around the country. She is releasing a CD next year with songs for educators and youth.