The Act requires each county in California to establish a Commission to oversee the implementation of the Act. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance creating the San Joaquin County Children and Families Commission. The Board then appointed the Commissioners to serve on the Commission. In August 2003, the Children and Families Commission officially adopted First 5 as the Overarching Program Identity.
A nine member volunteer commission oversees the work of First 5 San Joaquin, which supports the health, development and well-being of our youngest children through their first five years. Commissioners are selected and appointed by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and includes representatives from the Board of Supervisors, County departments, and individuals who have an expertise in serving children and families.
The Children and Families Commissioners:
Susan de Polo, Commissioner - Executive Director, A+
Gary F. Dei Rossi, EdD, Commissioner - Retired Deputy Superintendent, San Joaquin County Office of Education
Tammy Evans, RN, MSN, PhD, Commissioner - Director, Public Health Services
Jason Messer, Commissioner - Superintendent, Manteca Unified School District
Michael Miller, Vice Chair - Director, Human Services Agency
Maggie Park, MD, Chair - CMS Medical Director, Public Health Services
Kay Ruhstaller, BS, RD, Commissioner - Executive Director, Family Resource and Referral Center
Carl Toliver, Commissioner - Retired Superintendent, Stockton Unified School District
Miguel Villapudua, Commissioner - District 1 Supervisor, San Joaquin County
Susan de Polo, Commissioner
Executive Director, A+
Susan was born, raised, educated and lives in San Joaquin County. During the years she raised her three children she was a "stay at home" mom and community activist/ volunteer. She was extremely active in education and the non-profit worlds serving on multiple boards of directors, and founding new organizations. Her criteria for choosing a group to support was that its outcomes helped children.
Since 1986 she has been the director of an educational foundation. The mission of the foundation was the enhancement of public education in San Joaquin County. A ten day tobacco education and prevention curriculum, "Keys to Success and Good Health" was their first school based program for the county.
San Joaquin A+, founded in 1996, is a collaborative organization that supports and enhances the education of youth in order to create responsible, employable and productive citizens by identifying and engaging in methods of cooperation and collaboration among education, business and community based resources of our county.
When organizing an action group to make sure that all children in San Joaquin County will start school "ready to learn" it became evident that healthy families must be a part of the equation. The goals of this group are the same as the goals of proposition 10. When a seat on the newly established commission opened she felt her skills, knowledge and links to business, non-profits, schools and the community would be an asset. She feels it is an honor to serve on this commission and that her skills as a facilitator and consensus builder will help the progress of this group. She continues to serve on multiple boards of directors and advisory boards both on the state and local levels. The Act requires each county in California to establish a Commission to oversee the implementation of the Act. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance creating the San Joaquin County Children and Families Commission. The Board then appointed the Commissioners to serve on the Commission. In August 2003, the Children and Families Commission officially adopted First 5 as the Overarching Program Identity.
Gary F. Dei Rossi, EdD, Commissioner
Retired Deputy Superintendent, San Joaquin County Office of Education
Dr. Gary F. Dei Rossi was the Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of curriculum at the San Joaquin County Office of Education for over twenty years. Dr. Dei Rossi has been a classroom teacher, principal, district office administrator, and a college adjunct professor. During his educational career he was an advocate for early child education, literacy, and civic education. He earned his BA in History from UCLA, an MA in School Management from the University of La Verne and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of the Pacific.
He is the President of Teachers College of San Joaquin and continues to serve on the San Joaquin A+ Executive Board, the Executive Board of Pacific's Beyond Our Gates initiative, and the Central Valley Bookfest committee. Gary's wife was an elementary teacher for over thirty years and both of their children are teachers.
Tammy Evans, RN, MSN, PhD, Commissioner
Director, Public Health Services
Ms. Tammy Evans is currently Director of Public Health for San Joaquin County. She has worked in San Joaquin County health organizations for over 20 years. Tammy grew up in Stockton where she attended Franklin High School and received an Associate Degree in Nursing from San Joaquin Delta College. She went on to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from California State University Stanislaus, and her Master’s degree in Nursing from California State University, Sacramento. She obtained her PhD in Public Health through a distance learning program at Lacrosse University.
Tammy began her career working at St. Joseph’s Medical Center as a staff nurse. While working toward her Bachelor’s degree, she found and fell in love with public health work, and began working for San Joaquin County Public Health in 1995. After working for San Joaquin County Public Health for six years, she decided to become a School Nurse to allow her more time to spend with her young children. Tammy worked for Stockton Unified School District for 12 years, first as a School Nurse, and eventually as the Administrator of Comprehensive Health and Emergency Services. In 2013, she returned to San Joaquin County Public Health, as a Senior Deputy Director, and then Director. Tammy is committed to working with local communities and their health needs. Ms. Evans is married to a retired medical social worker and has three children.
Jason Messer, Commissioner
Superintendent, Manteca Unified School District
Jason Messer has served as Superintendent of the Manteca Unified School District since 2008. Prior to being selected as Superintendent, Mr. Messer served as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, the Director of Elementary Instruction, Elementary Principal, Dean of Student, and Teacher. He has worked in the education field for more than twenty years.
During these twenty years, Mr. Messer has taught at all levels of the educational system from preschool through the university level. Mr. Messer is a supporter of quality educational programs including those which focus on preparing all students for their future. He strongly supports preschool programs, music programs and vocational programs such as Agriculture and JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) as they provide multiple paths to student success. Manteca Unified serves more than 23,000 students and employs more than 2,000 individuals in south San Joaquin County.
Mr. Messer values the impact the District can have on assisting the current community as well as future generations in building green and sustainable systems, institutions, and programs which improve the quality of life for all involved. Mr. Messer lives in Stockton with his wife and two daughters and enjoys spending family time camping in Northern California.
Michael Miller, Vice Chair
Director, Human Services Agency
Michael Miller is the Director of the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency (HSA). As the Director, he is responsible for the administration of County social services programs including CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, Children’s Services, Aging and Community Services, Mary Graham Children’s Shelter and First 5. HSA has approximately 1,300 employees and an annual budget of over $370 million.
Mr. Miller was HSA Deputy Director over the Employment and Youth Services Bureau for the past four years, and prior to that was Deputy Director for the San Joaquin County Employment and Economic Development Department. In total, Mr. Miller has over 30 years’ experience in the administration and operation of social services programs.
Michael Miller graduated from Stockton’s Lincoln High School and California State University, Sacramento with a degree in Government.
Maggie Park, MD, Chair
Dr. Maggie Park is a pediatrician and is the Children's Services Medical Director for San Joaquin County. In this role, she serves as the medical consultant to the California Children's Services (CCS) program and oversees the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Program, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and the Foster Care Program for San Joaquin County Public Health Services.
Maggie was born and raised in Southern California and attended UCLA, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiological Sciences. She earned her medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine, then did her pediatric residency at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center in New York City. Maggie worked as an attending physician for San Joaquin General Hospital, as well as Ventura County Medical Center. Most recently, she practiced pediatrics in Stockton for Community Medical Centers and served as their Pediatric Associate Medical Director.
Maggie is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. She has a special interest in childhood obesity, literacy, and oral health. Maggie lives in Stockton with her husband and two children.
Kay Ruhstaller, BS, RD, Commissioner
Executive Director, Family Resource and Referral Center
Kay Ruhstaller has been the Executive Director for Family Resource and Referral Center (FRRC) since 2003. FRRC’s Mission is: To enhance and promote child development and family well-being in San Joaquin County. FRRC serves over 10,000 children and families annually and is uniquely linked to the child care professionals and early educators that serve them. Kay is committed to representing the needs of children and families. As a First 5 San Joaquin Children and Families Commissioner, she will work to establish policy that seeks the greatest return on investment of Proposition 10 (tobacco tax) funds for the children of San Joaquin County.
As a Registered Dietitian, Kay was the Director of Delta Health Care’s Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program for 10 years and served as the Deputy Director of the same organization. While at Delta Health Care WIC, she co-founded the Breastfeeding Coalition of San Joaquin County which has continued to positively impact breastfeeding rates through community mobilization.
As a Sierra Health Foundation, Health Leadership Program Fellow (Class VI-2007), she is dedicated to improving the lives of the people she serves through non-profit leadership. She currently serves on the California Resource and Referral Network Public Policy Committee and the San Joaquin Delta College Early Studies Advisory Committee. Previous service includes: Local Child Care Planning Council; Children Services Coordinating Commission and the Fetal Infant Mortality Review-Community Action Team.
Kay was raised in the Midwest and holds a B.S. Degree with a Major in Dietetics from the University of Nebraska (Kearney). She completed a Dietetic Internship at the University of Minnesota Hospitals (Minneapolis, Minnesota). After working for Omaha Public Schools for seven years, Kay relocated to Stockton in 1990, for a career opportunity as a corporate dietitian. She is married to Donald Ruhstaller, who is a businessman, former teacher and native of Stockton and together they have two daughters, Katie and Rebecca.
Carl Toliver, Commissioner
Retired Superintendent, Stockton Unified School District
Carl Toliver, was appointed Superintendent of SUSD on July 27, 2010. Mr. Toliver previously served in 2006 as Interim Superintendent of Stockton Unified School District. Prior to this position, he was Deputy Superintendent, Associate Superintendent and high school Principal. He has 34 years experience in all aspects of school operations, management, curriculum development, instructional leadership, district administration, and implementation of board of education goals.
Carl had a myriad of accomplishments while in the district, with student achievement centered goals at the apex. Under Carl’s leadership, numerous successful programs were implemented and are still in place. Some of his accomplishments include establishing the International Baccalaureate Program at Franklin High School; spearheading the Restructuring program, implementing a site-based management council and developing comprehensive plan resulting in Stagg High School receiving the California Distinguished School designation. He led the successful reconfiguration of K-8 schools. Carl provided the leadership that resulted in the passing of the $120,000,000 bond, Measure Q.
Carl received both his B.S in Social Science and M.A. – Educational Administration from UOP. He holds a California Administrative Clear Credential, California Standard Secondary Credential, and California Standard Teaching Credential. In addition, Carl has received numerous awards and recognition, including the 2004 State of California Central Office Administrator by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).
Carl has served as a United Way Board member; served on the Stockton Mid-Town Revitalization Strategy Advisory Group; and the 2005 Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Crime Task Force Committee. He is on the Retired Administrators Committee for the Association of California School Administrators.
Carl was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and is married to his wife, Marguerite, whom he has known since the first grade. They will celebrate 25 years of marriage next year. He is an avid golfer but loves the freedom to travel and spend time with his wife and family, especially his grandson.
Miguel Villapudua, Commissioner
District 1 Supervisor, San Joaquin County