Sheilah Brooks

System of Support for Expanded Learning Lead
Merced County Office of Education
U.S.: California Hub | NORTH AMERICA

Sheilah M. Brooks is one of three of the System of Support for Expanded Learning (SSEL) Leads in Region 7 (Merced, Fresno, and Tulare). The regional system for California is called the System of Support for Expanded Learning (SSEL). The SSEL consists of California Department of Education (CDE) staff, designated county leads/staff, and contracted technical assistance (TA) providers. In this role as a TA provider, Sheilah’s ongoing duty is to create needs-driven support services for quality expanded learning programs.

Sheilah supports Merced and Mariposa County Offices’ expanded learning programs. Nestled in the heart of the Central Valley, and like most regions within California, Region 7 is vast and spread out. In her current capacity she has been able to move forward with coaching, training, resource brokering, mentoring, consultation, and facilitation to support her region. She builds bridges, makes connections, and creates capacity among expanded learning grantees within the San Joaquin Valley.

Sheilah’s 14 years in education and expanded learning started at Cesar Chavez Middle School. Middle school would not have been her first choice, however over time she grew to love every inch of middle school programming. After three years in a middle school setting, she moved on to open and assist a new Local Education Agency (LEA) develop and upstart programming. One year into this role, she moved on to support middle school in a new capacity as a Middle School Supervisor for Merced County. She held the Middle School Supervisor position for 6 years. Middle schools flourished with active direction and instruction in this modest community.

Born to a teacher who was a single mother, she grew up knowing that life was bigger than just herself. She learned quickly as an only child that responsibility paid off and that giving back was more important than receiving. Servant leadership was the climate of her world by eleven years of age. As a young Summer Camp Jr. leader, she knew the importance of charitable giving. No surprise that she chose a career that would give back to the most valued and vital population, kids.

Giving back is not just part of her daily work, it’s grounded within her personal life. She volunteers at her local United Way, NAACP, Restorative Justice Center and Youth Leadership for LGBTQ+, and has established a foundation in her mother’s name to fund local high school students in their first year of high school.

It is an honor for Sheilah to work along with the Compassionate Systems Framework with the Center for Systems Awareness. It was not until she met this group did she realize the real meaning of servant learning.