FIRST 5 Tulare County Commissioners
Meet The Commissioners
In her role as administrator of Early Childhood Education at Tulare County Office of Education, Julie Berk oversees several early learning programs and initiatives, including the Child Care and Development Local Planning Council (LPC); the Early Stars Quality Rating and Improvement System, the California State Preschool Programs, as well as the Tulare County Head Start Program.
Prior to her current position, Mrs. Berk taught a special day class before moving to general education to teach kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 4th & 5th grades. She also was a principal in Visalia Unified School District for 18 years.
Mrs. Berk holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Professional Clear Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential. In addition, she earned a Master of Arts in Administration and Supervision as well as an Administrative Credential.
Most importantly, Julie has been married to her husband Steve for 25 years and they are the proud parents of two children, Quinton and Courtney.
Maureen Bianco was appointed as a Commissioner on March 16, 1999. She chaired the Commission for the first two years.
Ms. Bianco has been a volunteer with the American Cancer Society for more than 30 years and is an Honorary Life Member of the Visalia unit. She has been active in promoting the mission through breast health education and tobacco control on the local, state and national levels. Her accomplishments over the years include the implementation of California’s tobacco control efforts with the advent of Proposition 99. She remains active on the tobacco control project team as well as the youth team. Ms. Bianco also currently serves as Chair of the Tulare County Tobacco Coalition.
In January 2002, the American Cancer Society awarded Maureen Bianco the St. George National Award, the highest honor the organization bestows upon its volunteers.
Ms. Bianco now coordinates the Road to Recovery program for Tulare County; a program that provides volunteer drivers to take patients to cancer treatment.
Supervisor Pete Vander Poel III serves as Tulare County Supervisor representing District Two, which includes the City of Tulare, the communities of Allensworth, Alpaugh, Earlimart, Pixley, Teviston, Tipton, Waukena, and surrounding rural areas. He was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2008.
Supervisor Vander Poel was born and raised in Tulare County, where he now lives happily with his wife Ashley and three children, Pete John, Emmilene, and James. He graduated Valedictorian from Tulare Union High School, and went on to graduate Cum Laude from the College of Honors of the University of California, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Accounting.
Supervisor Vander Poel represents the Board of Supervisors on numerous local and state governmental bodies. (Click here to learn more)
He serves as Chairman to the City of Tulare Redevelopment Oversght Board; President of the San Joaquin Valley Insurance Authority; Chairman of the Tulare County Audit Committee; and Chairman of the Tulare County Water Commission.
Dr. Shawn Fox was raised throughout California and Nevada, graduating from California State University of Fresno in 2000 with a B.S. in Chemistry. He worked in the field of chemistry for two years and shortly after moved to New York and completed his Doctorate in Dental Surgery in 2004 at New York University. During that time, Dr. Fox received honors during his residencies in Oral Medicine and Pathology and Management of Temporal-Mandibular Disorders.
Dr. Fox completed a General Practice Residency at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in 2005, where he was an active duty Naval Officer. He served seven years in the Marine Corps and Naval Air Station, and currently serves with the United States Navy for the West Coast Operational Health Support Command.
Dr. Fox has received extensive training in the areas of oral surgery, implants, pediatric dentistry, TMD management, orthodontics, oral pathology, and crowns and bridges.
Married to Nicole Fox with six children, when Dr. Fox is not busy raising his family, he manages his local Visalia gym and competes. He is also involved in his local church and local missions, as well as travels the world to support the needs of South Africa.
Karen Elliott is the Public Health Director for the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). She oversees several programs including Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), County Health Clinics, California Children’s Services, Maternal Child Adolescent Health, Environmental Health, Immunizations and many other public health and prevention programs.
Karen began her career with HHSA in 2001. She has held a variety of increasingly responsible roles within Public Health, Mental Health and Fiscal Operations. She participates on the San Joaquin Valley Public Health Consortium which looks at the social determinants of health to address the barriers that influence positive outcomes in the community’s overall health and well-being. She actively participated and contributed to Tulare County’s Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan.
Mrs. Elliott has been instrumental in revamping service delivery in the county health care centers and promoted the effort of the Visalia Health Care Center in being recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home.
Christine A. Nelson, MD has more than 40 years of experience practicing pediatrics in a variety of settings and positions. She spent most of her professional career in Southern California before coming to Visalia in 2002. She was a pediatric hospitalist at Kaweah Delta Medical Center and a member of Sequoia Pediatric Group, Inc. until early 2017. She has returned to teaching and mentoring medical students and residents as a member of the full time faculty in pediatrics at UCSF Fresno in May, 2017.
Dr. Nelson received her BS and MD degrees from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her pediatric training through University of California, Irvine. She spent many years teaching medical students and residents as a full time faculty member of UCI’s Department of Pediatrics, based first at UCI, then later at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, where she also held several administrative positions.
Dr. Nelson then left hospital-based pediatrics to practice general pediatrics in Long Beach until relocating to Tulare County.