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Life Membership Award

Rhonda Harris Slota

Since 1986, Rhonda Harris Slota has worked for Napa Valley Unified School District first as an ABE & ESL Teacher, then a year later in 1987 she became the ABE/ESL Department Chair. In 1990 Rhonda became the Assistant Principal working until 1999 before taking on the top role as Principal to this day. It is also worth noting that from 1988 to 1990, Rhonda concurrently worked for the California Department of Education’s Amnesty Education Unit as a Consultant/Visiting Educator, and from 1986 to 1988 she held a second job at Napa Valley College teaching Reading & Composition, Creative Writing and Poetry courses.

Rhonda has provided collaboration and leadership for many award-winning programs including two Golden Bells, several Promising Practices, Programs of Excellence, and a National Workplace Literacy award from US Dept of Education. She is a former CAAEA and Adult Education Consortium Board member, and a former ACSA Region 4 Adult Education Council representative.

Rhonda is a passionate and tireless advocate for adult education students at local, state and federal levels; she has written and presented testimony to the legislature, and encouraged students to get involved. Rhonda was awarded the Democratic Party’s “Education Partner Award” based on Student Voter Education and information dissemination regarding Prop. 30. For her school and district, she has worked with the central office and all five district high schools to provide a-g and UCOP accredited courses for credit recovery, has implemented digital curriculum, adopted common core standards as well as project based learning, and developed several parent engagement programs to ensure that Napa Valley Adult Education (NVAE) remains a viable program during the dark years of maximum flexibility. 

As a Visiting Educator for the Amnesty Education Unit of the Department of Education, Rhonda was responsible for writing the application, developing, and implementing the IRCA/Amnesty program. While there she served on the planning committee for the state INS Conference. 

An award for program achievement was given in 1991 by the California School Boards Association, the “Golden Bell”, for NVAE’s Saturday High Technology Experience Program, a program for High School Latino students to study computers, English and/or ESL, Journalism, Leadership and Math. Rhonda developed, implemented and supervised this program at NVAE for four years. This program later became part of Napa Valley Community College’s Talent Search Program. 

Leveraging federal grant funds, Rhonda directed a National Workplace Literacy Program called The Literacy Line, providing job-specific ESL to work-sites using a mobile classroom and computer lab. This grant produced ESL life and work skills videos and curriculum as well as the professional CD’s and textbooks called The Gonzalez Family series published by Delta Systems Co., Inc. which were sold throughout the country. 

Because of Rhonda’s work, Napa County was one of the first places to implement the GAIN program, where she collaborated and became heavily immersed in establishing NVAE’s role as the ABE, ESL, Job Search and Vocational Education provider. 

Rhonda has been a member of the Napa Lake County Workforce Board (WIB) since it’s inception. During her tenure she prepared and wrote Napa County's CalWORKS Instructional Job Training Plan for adult education and ROP, collaborated with the Economic Development Department, Napa County Health and Human Resources, Training and Employment Center, Vocational Rehabilitation, Napa Valley College, and the Napa Valley Economic Development Corporation. She has served on the Governance and Partner Committees of the One Stop Career Center, developed and implemented program performance standards, and designed new courses for specific populations. She was a previous member of the Private Industry Council, and has served on the Partner, Governance, Infrastructure, and Executive Committees; Rhonda currently serves on the board’s Fiscal Committee.

Most recently, Rhonda was named as a member of the AEBG Napa Consortium Leadership Board as one of three District voting members, along with three Napa Valley College members and one County Office member. She Co-Chaired the AB86 planning grant, bringing all area stakeholders to the table.

Other collaborations that Rhonda has been involved with include but are not limited to: the Queen of the Valley Hospital Diversity and Inclusion Board; the Napa County CALWORKS Steering Committee, the Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofits; the Napa County Hispanic Network; the Napa County Teen Parent Task Force; Napans for Peace And Unity; NVUSD School/Law Enforcement; NVUSD Character Education and the NVUSD Budget Action Committee.

A member of the North Coast Chapter of the Bay Section since 1987, Rhonda’s activities have included being the Chapter’s 1991-2016 Legislation Chair; she also served on the Special Projects Board with Bay Section. She was the 92/93 Co-President, the 93/94 Secretary, and the 94/95 Vice President/Membership. Then, moving on to the Bay Section Board in 98/99, she served as Vice President/Membership, and then for 8 years as Bay Section’s Legislative Action Chair, organizing the Section’s visit to the Capital. Now, yet again, she is serving as the current Bay Section Legislative Action Chair. 

For many years, the North Coast Chapter held a Mini-Conference hosted on the NVAE campus. Rhonda consistently headed up the conference planning team. She served on the planning committee for the 1997 and 2011 State CCAE Adult Education Conferences, and will do so for this year’s 2016 conference. She has presented at numerous CCAE conferences, and was honored with Bay Section's Service Award in 99/00. She is a former CAAEA and Adult Education Consortium board member. Finally, she served as ACSA State Adult Education Chair from 2000-2003.