Literacy Hero Award 2014 Winner – Gary Dei Rossi




Each and every day, ordinary people do extraordinary things to promote literacy in our communities. With these awards, we celebrate the selfless acts of regional heroes who champion the cause of literacy in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.


GaryDeiRossi-2014Gary Dei Rossi has spent 38 years as a passionate, dedicated educator, including 22 years as an influential leader at San Joaquin County Office of Education.

Dr. Dei Rossi continues to promote literacy through his work in “First 5” (the San Joaquin County Children & Families Commission), San Joaquin A+ (a partnership between business and education to improve literacy), and on advisory committees for University of the Pacific’s Bernard School of Education, Pacific’s Beyond the Gates Committee, and California State University Stanislaus. He also serves as the President of Teachers College of San Joaquin, the first WASC-accredited college in the United States to be housed by a county office of education.

At the state level, Dr. Dei Rossi chaired the California Reading Implementation Committee, the Reading Technical Assistance Committee, and the Preschool Instructional Network Committee that dealt with statewide literacy issues.

In addition, Dr. Dei Rossi is a past member of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau’s Educational committee, past member of the San Joaquin Head Start Board of Directors, past member the Stockton Civic Educational Advisory Group, a past board member for the Haggin Museum, and a founding committee member of Great Valley Bookfest.

He received Congressional recognition and an award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars for his work on “Operation Recognition.” This program awarded high school diplomas to veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and for Japanese’s internees. He also created the Homework Hotline that appeared nightly on cable TV for ten years.

He has co‐authored two books to promote public awareness of local history. The first, “The History of San Joaquin County and Its Communities” is a publication about the county’s founding stakeholders, such as Benjamin Holt, the creator of the caterpillar tractor. More recently, he co-authored “The ABC Book of San Joaquin County,” a children’s book extolling the virtues of San Joaquin county in words and photographs. Both books are popular classroom resources for teaching students about the history of their communities.

His wife, Katherine Dei Rossi, served as an elementary teacher in Manteca Unified schools for over 30 years, and both of their children are teachers.

Over the years, Dr. Dei Rossi’s tireless efforts have transformed public education in our region, and he continues to help teachers, parents, students, and school administrators in their quest to create a more literate and better-informed community.

To contact Gary Dei Rossi, send an email to or phone (209) 969-4858.