Melissa Schoonmaker, L.C.S.W.

Melissa Schoonmaker, L.C.S.W.

Project Director III over the Child Welfare and Attendance

Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE)

Melissa Schoonmaker has over 23 years of child welfare and attendance experience with K-12 school districts with extensive experience with pupil services, program management, community partnerships, outreach efforts and legal and procedural aspects of student rights. She is an expert in attendance improvement and dropout prevention, chronic absenteeism, intervention and recovery strategies, School Attendance Review Board (SARB), student transfers, inter-district appeals, student discipline including suspensions and expulsions, trauma informed care and restorative practices. In addition, she has extensive experience addressing custody, residency, and enrollment, student and parent rights, student records, special education and section 504, foreign and immigrant students with an intense focus on high-promise populations including habitually truant, foster care, teen parents, and homeless students. Through the course of her work she has established several successful collaborative efforts with school personnel, community leaders, local agencies and community organizations to address the needs of at-promise students.

Ms. Schoonmaker currently serves as Project Director III over the Child Welfare and Attendance Unit for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). Ms. Schoonmaker joined LACOE in 2012 to serve as the Homeless Education Liaison in order to support the 80 school districts and more than 350 charter schools to meet the educational needs of more than 70,000 youth identified as experiencing homelessness across the county. In her current role, Ms. Schoonmaker oversees support to school districts and charter schools in regard to the aforementioned areas and a myriad of other child welfare issues. Prior to LACOE, Ms. Schoonmaker was employed at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for over 16 years in several positions including Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) Counselor, School Attendance Review Board (SARB) Chairperson and PSA Coordinator over the Homeless Education, Pregnant Minors, Permits and Student Transfers, Foreign Student Admissions and School Court Liaison Programs.

A licensed social worker, Ms. Schoonmaker earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California Irvine and a Master in Social Work from the University of Southern California.