Glinelle Overland: New supe of special education to bring hands-on approach |

Glinelle Overland: New supe of special education to bring hands-on approach

Nevada County's new Special Education Director, Glinelle Overland, at the Terence K. McAteer Family Resource Center on Hoover Lane in Nevada City.
John Hart/ | The Union

It has been less than a month since Southern California native Glinelle Overland was hired on as Nevada County Superintendent of Schools’ new Assistant Superintendent of Special Education, and Overland says she is ready to jump right in and get to work.

“I believe in having procedures,” Overland said. “Once you have procedures and structure, things tend to work a lot better because people know what to do and if people have questions they can refer back to something. So that’s my style, if I need to jump in there to do something, I jump in and do it. It’s a team effort, that’s just how I lead, if it needs to be done and I can help out — I do it.”

Overland was hired in July and moved up to Nevada County from Los Angeles two weeks ago. Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen said Overland was the best candidate for the position.

“Glinelle has the experience, knowledge and leadership skills that will make her an excellent fit for the position,” Hermansen said. “She has already started to prove that we made the right choice by stepping in to work closely with our staff and establish relationships with our local school districts to make sure we are providing excellent education programs for our students with disabilities.”

Overland, 42, is a native of Santa Monica and attended Fresno State University and California State University Northridge, where she received a bachelors degree in creative writing. Overland said she had fought pursuing education during her undergraduate studies and initially wanted to be a novelist.

“It just so happened my sorority sister, my senior year, had said to me, ‘Come on, we’re going to get a part-time job,’” Overland said. “We started going into the classrooms in local middle schools and taking notes and helping teachers.”

While working for a general education classroom teacher, Overland said, one day the teacher told her, “You’re in charge for this period, you have the lessons of what you’re going to. And she just kind of sat back and let me do my thing… From then on it was kind of like, ‘OK, this is what I love.’”

Overland then attended California State University Dominguez Hills, where she earned her teaching credentials for general and special education, and her masters degree in special education. She says she was drawn to teaching special ed students because of an experience she had when she was in elementary school.

“I was one of those kids that started school a little earlier,” Overland said. “My parents probably should have had me wait a little longer, because I don’t necessarily think I was that mature to start at that age. So I had a lot of trouble with spelling and reading and math.”

Overland said due to the help and encouragement of a reading teacher, she became more interested in reading and writing, and as a student who was behind, it made all the difference in the world. So when Overland began substitute teaching for high schools, she chose to work with special ed students.

“I went and I met those kids and I just fell in love,” Overland said. “I mean it was just like, well, I can identify with them. I struggled as a reader when I was younger and had someone help me, so why don’t I come in and help them?”

Overland would go on to serve more than 15 years as a special ed teacher, program director and administrator for various school districts in the Los Angeles area, gaining a base of knowledge in all aspects of education.

“I really got the chance to get to work with those kids and get to know them,” Overland said. “And really work with a lot of county employees to kind of see what they do. I got a chance to look at curriculum, classroom set up, and just further cement my experience.”

Looking to move to Northern California, Overland applied for her current position in early July. Not believing she would be considered for the job, Overland said she went on the road with her husband, a truck driver, immediately after applying.

“Next thing I know, right before we leave I get this call,” Overland said. “We were on our way to Nebraska, but at that point we were in Texas. So there I was standing in the middle of a small little truck stop in the corner by little slot machines, and I had to tell them, ‘I’m in a truck stop so if you can’t hear me, I’ll move to another spot.’”

As assistant superintendent of special education services, Overland is responsible for managing more than 30 staff members between six different class sites, offering special education services for infants, all the way up to middle school.

Hermansen says Overland’s program will operate special day classes for those students with more significant disabilities, also providing services for students who need them and attend local school districts.

“These services include services for students who are blind or visually impaired, occupational therapy and adaptive physical education,” Hermansen said. “Glinelle’s job is to oversee these programs and make sure that we are providing high quality special education programs for our students with disabilities. She works very closely with our local school districts to provide the programs and services that they need for their students.”

Overland’s main priorities for the program are to fill two vacant staff positions, a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing and a special ed teacher, as soon as possible, and to implement an expansion in the student populace by adding more general education students to the county’s programs.

“We need more typical peers so that our students can interact with them and do lots of mainstreaming type of things,” Overland said. “I’m really excited about it, it’s really great for both general and special ed when you get them early, they make friends. And it just tends to stick and kids don’t tend to shy away from a student with a disability when you get them earlier.”

Overland says that she plans to do a lot of groundwork by going out and meeting each teacher at least once a week, to build the bridge between classroom and county.

“It’s nice if they’re able to see a familiar face,” Overland said. “So that they know who they can interact with and get their needs met. I’ve got an open door, so come on down and visit.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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