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 Migrant Services Aide Is Statewide Employee of the Year

A migrant services aide with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is one of the statewide Classified School Employees of the Year, the California Department of Education announced today.

Gabriela "Gaby" Beas is being recognized for the work she does to support migrant families and the community.

"This is so cool," Beas said. "I am so proud to represent Migrant Education, SDCOE, and all my peeps. I am so honored."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the six statewide employees of the year today, honoring them for their contributions and dedication to California's public school students.

"Our schools would cease to function without the classified employees who keep them clean and safe, who make sure our students get to school and receive the proper nutrition once they are there, and who contribute to an overall positive school culture and caring environment," Torlakson said. "Our 2016 Classified School Employees of the Year represent the very best of the best. I applaud them and thank them for their important service to California's children and families."

The annual program honors six outstanding classified school employees from the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation. Beas is being recognized in the Para-Educator category.

This year's recipients were chosen from among 107 nominees.

Beas and the other 2016 Classified School Employees of the Year will be honored by Torlakson at a luncheon May 16 in Sacramento.

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."

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."