Welcome, new outdoor ed coordinator

New outdoor education coordinator brings ecological perspective
Posted on 08/08/2018
New Plumas Charter School outdoor education coordinator Courtney GomolaPlumas Charter School’s executive director, Taletha Washburn, recently announced the hire of Courtney Gomola as the school’s new outdoor education coordinator. “Courtney is more than qualified for this position,” said Washburn. “We are very excited to see what she has in store for our students.”

Gomola will be working primarily at PCS’s three temporary Quincy sites, said Washburn, but part of her role will be to further develop programs that will also be implemented at the PCS learning centers in Indian Valley and Chester, “bridging” the school’s three locations.

Gomola has a Master of Science degree in ecology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She explained that her background in ecology, which looks at how organisms are connected to the individuals and places that surround them, informs her educational approach.

“I'm really looking forward to working with Plumas Charter School in this position to bring these types of principles into our garden and outdoor education,” she said.

“I'm looking forward to working with students to draw connections between themselves and everything in their environment—the plants and animals, rocks and soil, and their peers and community members—to help create a holistic understanding of what it means to be a node in the web of Plumas County.”

After growing up on the East Coast, Gomola led a youth conservation crew in Northern California shortly after college.

“Discovering the wild lands and open spaces of the West was an incredible experience, and resulted in me never living east of the Rockies since!” said Gomola.

“For the past few years I've worked with different schools in Plumas County doing natural resource education and scientific inquiry for all ages.”

Gomola said that the diversity and untamed nature of Plumas County are two of her favorite things about this area.

“I love that from a single spot you can look at a huge variety of working landscapes, from longtime ranches to productive forest lands and watersheds to new businesses that pop up in our downtowns,” she said.

In summing up her experience as a teacher, Gomola said, “I think I'm always becoming a better educator by learning from some of the best teachers out there—the students!”

Gomola replaces outdoor education coordinator Leslie Pace, who left Plumas Charter School in July to continue her education.  Pace’s legacy remains in the lush garden at the school’s temporary Quincy K–2 site at 535 Lawrence St.

Plumas Charter School emphasizes personalized learning. The school offers a variety of program options, including independent study, that incorporate enrichment activities such as gardening, music, dance, and art. For more information, call 530-283-3851, or visit Facebook.com/PlumasCharterSchool.

By Ingrid Burke, I. Burke Writing & Editing
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In the photo: New Plumas Charter School outdoor education coordinator Courtney Gomola gets acquainted with the outdoor space at 80 Main St., the Quincy seventh- through 12th-grade site. Photo by Ingrid Burke