Marcus Mitchell, Director, Kern County DCSS
I was born in Los Angeles and raised in the small suburban community of Valinda, California. I had a great childhood playing in a safe neighborhood with a multitude of friends on my street. We played baseball in the street and the hoop was at my house where we played basketball as well. While I wasn’t the best athlete, we were a great group of friends. I attended William Workman High School and graduated in 1980. I was also a member of my school band and eventually ended up marching in the Sacramento Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corp for three summers. I was fortunate to travel summers competing all over the country and Canada. I got to perform in the Olympic Stadium in Montreal Canada and in the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL.
At the end of my time in drum corps, to my mom’s surprise, I decided it was time to move out and live on my own. So, in my infinite wisdom I decided it would be great to live in Santa Barbara, CA. I packed up my belongings and moved to Santa Barbara. A friend of mine put in a good word for me and I got a job in the Math Department at UCSB. I loved living near the beach but we all know that it ain’t cheap to live in Santa Barbara! I made it about eleven months and packed up and moved to Sacramento where it was much cheaper to live.
After working for a couple of employers, I took the account clerk test for Sacramento County. I passed the test and made the list. Almost a year went by and I forgot all about the list. To my surprise, I got a message from the receptionist where I was employed to call the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. I totally freaked out! I thought, what do they think I’ve done? The rest is history. I began my career in the child support program at the D.A. Bureau of Family Support in accounting. I was bitten by the child support bug and realized I was cut out for this line of work. You see, my parents divorced when I was 14 years old and my father was ordered to pay child support. My dad paid his support every month on time and never ever missed a payment. Not only did he pay his support, he stayed completely connected to me and my life. He, along with my mother, raised me to have a strong work ethic, respect for my fellow man, an attitude of service, and healthy relationship with God. Through life experiences, I realized the power of child support.
After promoting to a Child Support Officer and a Supervising Child Support Officer, I worked on our county’s conversion to the CASES System. I was offered a position with Informatix as a Conversion Manager and with fear and trepidation I left the government for private industry. I had a great mentor (Frank Shipley) and I worked in several counties doing all the activities related to conversion. This position allowed me the opportunity to see how the program was administered in different counties and work with and learn from many talented child support professionals. While I grew so much in a short time, I really missed the program, and the travel was grueling. My wife and I were also trying to start a family and it is really difficult when you aren’t in the same place! I eventually made my way to the CADCSS and worked on the pilot conversions to CSE and became a Regional Administrator for Southern Region.
Although working at the CADCSS was rewarding, I still missed working at the local level. In 2009, I was hired as the Assistant Director of the Kern County Department of Child Support Services (KCDCSS). Boy, I thought Sacramento was hot…Bakersfield is way hotter! I had the privilege of working alongside Phyllis Nance, and when she retired from Kern on her road to Alameda I was appointed the Director of KCDCSS, where I proudly serve our community with a dedicated team of child support professionals creating a better life for children. Along the way I managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Management & Ethics from William Jessup University and Associate Degrees in both Criminal Justice and Christian Studies.
But most important in my life is my family. I married my best friend Sara, and we have three beautiful girls—Victoria 12, Ava 8, and the baby Sarina 6. Being a husband and father is the most rewarding facet of my life. We love doing things as a family. We camp in our RV (the Mitchell Memory Mobile), make as many trips to Hawaii as possible, and my girls and I dance Hula worship together. I live a charmed life. I have a career that I am passionate about, I get to work with many dedicated professionals serving families, and I get to go home at night to a wonderful wife and three beautiful daughters who love me no matter what. I am truly thankful for all the blessings that have been bestowed on me in this life.