Meet El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools

A CSUS Distinguished Alumnus and Advocate for Students
dr. ed manansala
Dr. Ed Manansala. Photo by Charm Photography/Charlene Lane.

All his life, Dr. Ed Manansala has had a heart for serving others. That passion was instilled in him by his parents who moved to the United States from the Philippines to give their children a better life. Throughout this youth, Dr. Manansala worked as a volunteer, mentor and coach in Sacramento and as far away as Guatemala. It was after seeing a young teen shot on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Sacramento, however, and hearing another say, “that’s just how it is here,” that he set out on a new path. “I was troubled by what I’d seen, and heard, and I shared my concerns with a Sac State professor,” Dr. Manansala says. “She told me, ‘Ed, if you want to make true, systemic, long-term community change, you have two choices—the juvenile justice system or education.’ I chose education because I saw it as the more preventive option, where I could impact kids and families upstream, before they’re in the system. Ultimately, a quality education is the bridge for children to reach their potential.”

Now, 25 years later, Dr. Manansala holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and serves as El Dorado County’s superintendent of schools. He earned his doctorate from UC Davis, but it was his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Sac State, including three credentials in social work, counseling and administration, that got him there. Last October, in recognition of all his work and community service and the impact he’s had on the lives of many students throughout California, the Sac State Alumni Association recognized him with a Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes graduates for professional achievements and community service, achieving prominence in their field, and bringing distinction to the university and/or their community through their accomplishments.

Serrano’s Principal Planner for Parker Development Company, Andrea Howard, has worked with Dr. Manansala for years and says the recognition is well deserved.

dr. ed manansala
Dr. Ed Manansala pictured in 2020 with students of Oak Ridge High School, St. Francis High School, Union Mine High School, Ponderosa High School, Vista del Lago High School and Jesuit High School. Photo by Charm Photography/Charlene Lane.

“Dr. Manansala (Ed) has set the gold standard for our schools in El Dorado County. He has a vision of academic excellence, and his commitment to our community extends beyond the walls of his professional career,” Howard says. “He devotes his free time to serve on several nonprofit boards, including the Boys & Girls Club, Marshall Medical Center, Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises (MORE), the UC Davis School of Education and the El Dorado Community Foundation. His achievements, both professional and personal, are remarkable.”

For his part, Dr. Manansala says he’s honored by the award, adding that it’s a privilege to be an educational leader in our community, and that his desire toward community service is deeply intertwined with his work. He sees firsthand what kids in our community are experiencing, and he encourages everyone with a heart for serving kids to put that desire into action.

“This is a difficult time for our kids. They’ve been impacted by 22 months of very challenging circumstances, on top of living in a time when kids are already dealing with greater levels of anxiety, depression and isolation,” he says. “There are numerous opportunities for anyone looking to have a positive impact, from service organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Clubs to advocacy groups like Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).”

Dr. Manansala also says it’s important to remember the teachers who’ve been in the trenches right alongside their kids through this challenging time. Simply offering a few words of thanks to a teacher, principal or any staff member to let them know they’re appreciated can be immensely helpful.

“We want to create a high-quality educational system that helps our students succeed. Our goal is creating an environment where kids, no matter what kind of background they come from, can fulfill their dreams,” he says. “Education really is the fabric of our community, and it needs everyone’s involvement—the kids, the teachers and the parents.”