Phone: (530) 550-9820
Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Kirsten Livak
Trustee Area 2
Term of Office 2016-2020
Kirsten Livak was raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, California where she attended public schools. Education has always been a key focal point, and throughout her years as an elementary school student, Kirsten enjoyed playing "school" with her sisters and always wanted to become a teacher when she grew up. As a GATE student, she became aware of the inequalities of the educational system and the inherent discrepancy in the delivery of academic content across different populations. However it was during her high school years, observing classmates, some succeeding and others disengaged, that she developed an awareness of the impact of economic, social, and cultural factors on children's aspirations and prospects for success. She has carried this focus and concern into all of her educational endeavors beginning with early undergraduate studies in child development.
In 1992, taking a break from college, Kirsten moved to the Tahoe Truckee area where she worked part-time as a ski instructor and part-time as a home visitor for Head Start. Working directly with families living in extreme poverty raised her cultural and economic awareness and intensified her interest in diversity studies. When Kirsten returned to U.C. Santa Cruz in 1994, she obtained a B.A. ('96) in Latin American Studies, studying Spanish, history, social justice, religion, gender issues, and the pedagogy of oppression. In 1995, she completed a Spanish Immersion semester long program at the University of Michoacán, in Morelia, Mexico.
Kirsten returned to Tahoe-Truckee after her undergraduate studies. She obtained her Spanish Translation Certification from Placer County Health and Human Services and began translating for patients at the Kings Beach Community Clinic. Kirsten played a key role in bringing the Early Head Start program, a home visiting program that provides child development, nutrition, health, and supportive services to low-income families from birth to the age of three, to the Tahoe Truckee community and worked as the Program Supervisor for four years. She obtained her Trainer of Trainers certification from the West Ed Program for Infant Toddler Caregivers; this intensive training galvanized her interest in early learning, attachment theory, as well as social, emotional and cognitive development.
Kirsten entered the Masters in Social Work program and UNR in fall of 2000 and worked for the North Tahoe Family Resource Center as the Service Integration Coordinator and at Sierra Family Services, first as a case manager for her masters practicum, and later as a bi-lingual mental health therapist for part of her post masters ('03) clinical internship. Kirsten became interested in field research during this program, and conducted an IRB approved qualitative research study designed to identify culturally relevant risk and protective factors for Spanish speaking families for her Master's thesis titled, "Defining Culturally Competent Social Work Practice for Latino Families in the Community of Kings Beach, CA." In 2005, she completed specialized 18 month training on Parent Child Interactive Therapy through UC Davis CAARE center, and provided this evidence-based behavioral modification treatment modality to English and Spanish speaking families while working as an intern for Nevada County Behavioral Health.
Currently, Kirsten is a part-time consultant for United Advocates for Children and Families as a Lead Evaluator under the Principal Investigator coordinating WIRB (Western Institutional Review Board) approved field research for 5-year longitudinal study on behavioral health outcomes for children enrolled in Placer County Children's System of Care. This project was funded in 2005 through a 5 million dollar grant awarded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The focus of the SAMHSA initiative is to transform the System of Care to increase the level of cultural competency for serving Native American, Latino and Transition Age youth and families involved in the System of Care.
Having completed her 3200 hours of supervised clinical social work, Kirsten recently passed the exams required by the California Board of Behavioral Services and is now certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Kirsten also works part-time as a consultant for the Early Head Start and Head Start program providing Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation services, which includes home visits and preschool anecdotal observations.
Kirsten brings a unique perspective to her role as a TTUSD Trustee based on the depth of her experience working with families in the Tahoe Truckee Community. Kirsten is a passionate believer in the power of education, and although she chose not to go into the teaching field, Kirsten continues to support and advocate for strengthening the educational system in our nation. Kirsten understands the key role families play in the development of a healthy relationship between learning and the individual. This relationship is necessary to nurturing the seeds of intrinsic motivation, engagement, and the wonder of learning that all children deserve. Kirsten believes that the non-academic needs of all children for physical, social, and emotional health are the foundation upon which strong academic success is built.
Kirsten has been a resident of the Tahoe/Truckee area since 1992. Kirsten and her husband Mike, have two children who attend local public schools. As parents, they both realize the importance of the home/school relationship. They enjoy volunteering in the classroom, fundraising, and chaperoning field trips.