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 Employee of the Year Makes a Difference for Migrant Families

As hard as she works while supporting migrant families for the San Diego County Office of Education, Gabriela “Gaby” Beas still finds the time and energy outside of work to make a difference in her community.

Because of this tireless effort and passion, Beas was recently named the 2016 SDCOE Classified Employee of the Year.

“We thought she was really well-rounded,” said Kirsten McGinn, one of the panelists on the selection committee. “She has gone above and beyond not only in her work activities, but she’s also really involved in the community.”

Gabriela Beas.jpgShe said she was surprised, humbled, and excited to be recognized, especially considering the nomination came from colleagues.

“The fact that I was nominated by co-workers is cool,” she said. “It’s a very cool feeling. I’m feeling the love.”

Beas has worked for SDCOE’s Migrant Education unit for 11 years. In that time, she has served students and families by helping to start a math program at CSU San Marcos for middle school students, working with social worker interns to provide group support for migrant students, volunteering with the Community Resource Center in Encinitas, and delivering holiday food baskets to needy families.

“She truly is such a positive force in our community,” said Lea Williams, monitoring and evaluations manager with the Community Resource Center. “She brings smiles to the kids and families that she serves and keeps everyone around her laughing.”​

In her current role as a migrant services aide, Beas visits two or three schools a day to meet with students, teachers, and counselors. She often works as a liaison between the family and the school. Other times, she’s busy connecting students with needed services and supports. She works with students ages 3 through 22.

Beas grew up in a migrant family, so she knows first-hand the challenges the students she works with are facing. Because of this, she’s passionate about helping students from migrant families reach their full potential and supporting families as they build better lives for themselves and their children.

“Gaby is a consummate change agent and a natural leader,” said Monica Nava, senior director of the Migrant Education unit. “With her professional, positive, helpful, collaborative, and cheerful disposition, she serves as a guide and mentor to students, families, colleagues, and community partners.”

This award isn’t the only recognition Beas has received recently. Last year, she received the San Diego Padres’ Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Award and was a finalist for The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Latino Champions Awards.

Beas says the recognition should also go to her co-workers, the students, and families that she serves, and the community organizations she works with.

“We work so well together to be able to support our families,” she said. “I can’t do my job without them and how supportive they are. They make me look good.”