An Interview with In-Coming California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance State President Kevin Torosian - from the CASCWA "Intercom" Newsletter
Kevin Torosian has been a major contributor to CASCWA for several years. Like so many before him, he wound up in the field of student services, wound up joining CASCWA, realized how important CASCWA was to his career efforts, wound up as president of the San Joaquin section, and after serving as CASCWA’s 2021-22 vice-president will become the 2022-23 CASCWA State President. Kevin is one of a kind. He recently retired from the Central Unified School District. He has been an excellent presenter at several CASCWA conferences. The Intercom Editors have taken number of San Joaquin’s workshops and other events and Kevin is always there in the background or up front as a leader! He has earned respect from all of the CASCWA Executive Board Members!
You have been a long standing member of CASCWA’s San Joaquin Section and are currently the state's President Elect. What are your some of your earliest memories of CASCWA and how did CASCWA impact your career?
My earliest memory of CASCWA actually predates my entry into the field of education. My mother worked for the Fresno Unified School District and was Bill Booth's administrative secretary in the Office of Student Services. I recall her typing, (on a typewriter), and formatting editions of the Intercom for this organization he belonged to called CASCWA.
Once I started working for Fresno Unified, I recall the guys in the office of Student Services (Ruben Rodriguez, Bob Harris, and Bob Pankratz) taking me to a lunch meeting in Atwater, where they also had scholarship presentations. It was here that I first met legends like Joe Brucia and Galen Wright. I think my first state conference was in San Francisco at the St Francis Hotel. I recall staying in a hotel around the corner that was for the Marines. My takeaway, from these initial exposures, and every subsequent CASCWA gathering and event, was what a friendly, knowledgeable, collaborative group of people the members were and how much of a benefit membership in this organization would be to me in the pursuit of career excellence and the service of students and their families.
Many of you may know that our section scholarship program was created years ago by Joe Brucia to honor the memory of his son, Anthony. I can vividly recall going to scholarship luncheons years ago and watching Galen Wright read excerpts from student applications. There was not a dry eye in the house. I personally witnessed the pride and joy that was exhibited by the recipients and their supporters in attendance. It was quickly decided that a central focus for us in the San Joaquin section was to grow our scholarship program. Since becoming the scholarship chairman a few years ago, with the help of Sergio Mendoza, as well as all members of the section who joined in this commitment, we were able to grow the program to five scholarships a year in the amount of $1,000 each with the continuing opportunity for an additional $1,000 per year for a total of four years, should the recipients maintain enrollment and good standing.
We continued to award scholarships throughout the pandemic, and this year will again, we will be able to resume awarding the scholarships in person at our luncheon on May 20th. I think everyone in our section would tell you that this ceremony is the highlight of our year. Along the way, I was fortunate to meet Janet Rowse and Ron Cuff from SafeLaunch, who in their continuing efforts to address the effects of substance abuse, saw what we were doing, and after hearing the stories of these deserving students, offered an additional two scholarships to students whom they selected from among our many applicants. And, as all the sections have been made aware, this year, they have offered to expand their generosity to every section in the state. Thank you Ron and Janet.
You recently retired from a highly successful career in the Central Unified School District where you made a true difference to the community. What are a few of your greatest memories now that you are retired, and what advice would you give to someone just starting on a career in student service?
The first thing I would advise someone starting a career in Student Services to do, would be to join CASCWA. Without CASCWA and the access that it afforded me to the knowledge, experience and expertise of those in education from all over the state, I don't know that I would have been nearly as competent at my job. And in our field, competency equates to success. I would tell them that the one essential trait necessary to do this job right is that you have a huge heart for kids. You can learn everything else you need to know, but my experience has been that you either have that or you don't. And I would tell them that Student Services may, at the same time, be the most frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking, yet most sincerely rewarding department that they could choose to work in.
Read the entire CASCWA Intercom Newsletter here.