Civics 101 session - Sep. 6, 2022

Have questions about local government? Want to learn from department heads and other county leaders? Then Civics 101 is for you!

The Civics 101 Academy is a free course that provides an in-depth look at County programs, services, finances and initiatives. Participants primarily learn from and interact with department heads or their designees about topics such as health, public safety, human services, parks, public finance, sustainability, the justice system and more. Light refreshments are served. See all session details below!

Civics 101 is also an opportunity for us to hear your perspective and learn from you. What are your priorities for improving the quality of life for all on the Peninsula? What do you care about? What are your ideas? We want to know!

Maybe you're simply interested in learning about the workings of San Mateo County government, such as the wide array of services and programs it provides to residents. Or like a number of past participants, maybe you'll be inspired to serve on one of the County's many boards and commissions, where volunteers like you work to advise the Board of Supervisors and help improve our community! Or, who knows, maybe your civic-mindedness will spur you to join the remarkable team of dedicated County government employees that serve our residents, or even seek local elected office someday!

  • Civics 101 meets one evening per week — from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  for nine consecutive weeks. The Fall 2023 program will run Wednesday evenings from Aug. 30 through Oct. 25. 

  • Location: 501 Winslow Street, Redwood City (the Regional Operations Center on the campus of County Government Center). There is free parking nearby.


Please see the application at the bottom of this page. If you have questions, please contact program facilitator Eric Forgaard at

Fall 2023 Schedule:

Aug. 30: San Mateo County Government Overview 
County Executive Mike Callagy; County overviewchief communications officer Michelle Durand; Emergency Management: director Don Mattei

Sep. 6: San Mateo County Health
Marc Meulman, interim deputy chief, San Mateo County Health; Yousef Turshani, chief medical officer, San Mateo Medical Center; Nina Rhee, deputy director, Aging and Adult Services; Dyshun Beshears, adult protective services supervisor, Aging and Adult Services

Sep. 13:  Community Services
Public Works: director Ann Stillman; Libraries: deputy director of library services Danae Ramirez; 9-1-1 Dispatch: public safety communications director Natasha Claire-Espino; 
Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo): executive officer Rob Bartoli

Sep. 20: Human Services
HSA overview: director Claire Cunningham; Collaborative Community Outcomes: Selina Toy Lee; Economic Self-Sufficiency: Navjeet SinghEmployment Services: Jennifer ValenciaChildren and Family Services: John FongHousing: director Ray Hodges; Q&A with all presenters

Sep. 27: All About Money
Treasurer-Tax Collector: Sandie Arnott; Controller's OfficeJuan Raigoza, Controller; Budget and Performance: Robert Manchia, County Chief Financial Officer and Heather Ledesma, Principal Management Analyst; Assessor - County Clerk - Recorder - Elections: Jim Irizarry, Assistant Assessor - County Clerk - Recorder - Elections

Oct. 4: Countywide Initiatives
Office of Sustainability: director Carolyn Bloede; County Equity: Shireen Malekafzali, chief equity officer; Legislative Affairs and Boards and Commissions, including a panel discussion: Principal Management Analyst Connie Juarez-Diroll.

Oct. 11: Sheriff's Office
Overview and community engagement: Sgt. Javier Acosta; K-9 demonstration, Sheriff's Deputies; Coroner's Office: Coroner Robert Foucrault.

Oct. 18: Justice System
Judge TBDDistrict Attorney Steve WagstaffePrivate Defender Lisa MaguireProbation Chief John Keene. Short mock trial included!

Oct 25: Final session!
Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine; County Attorney John Nibbelin; Human Resources: deputy director Theresa Rabe and HR Manager II Ramla Javed.

Questions? Contact Eric Forgaard at