Melissa Schoonmaker, L.C.S.W.
Director of Project III on Child Welfare and Attendance
Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE)
Melissa Schoonmaker has over 23 years of experience in child welfare and attendance in K-12 school districts, with extensive experience in 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, interdistrict appeals, student discipline including suspensions and expulsions, trauma-informed care, and restorative practices. In addition, she has extensive experience in custody, residency and enrollment, student and parental rights, student records, special education and Section 504, foreign and immigrant students, with an intense focus on high-engagement populations, including habitual truancy, foster care, teen parents, and homeless students. In the course of her work she has established several successful collaborative efforts with school staff, community leaders, local agencies, and community organizations to address the needs of high promise.
Ms. Schoonmaker currently serves as Project Manager III on the Child Welfare and Attendance Unit for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). Ms. Schoonmaker joined LACOE in 2012 to serve as a homeless education liaison to support the 80 school districts and over 350 charter schools to meet the educational needs of over 70 thousand youth identified as homeless throughout the county. In her current role, Ms. Schoonmaker oversees support to school districts and charter schools as it relates to the above areas and a myriad of other child welfare issues. Prior to working at LACOE, Ms. Schoonmaker was employed with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for over 16 years in various positions including Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) counselor, chair of the School Attendance Review Board (SARB), and PSA coordinator over the Homeless Education, Pregnant Minors, Student Permits and Transfers, Foreign Student Admissions, and School Court Liaison programs.
Ms. Schoonmaker, a licensed social worker, received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California Irvine and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.