Honoring SDCOE Employees Who Served Our Country
San Diego County has a strong military presence with multiple bases across the region, and the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is fortunate to have dozens of employees who have served in the military or have spouses or family members who served their country in the armed forces.
Each person brings their unique skills and strengths, experiences, and core values of serving their community to their role at the County Office.
"Veterans Day is an important reminder to take time to thank those on our team and in our school communities who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces," said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "Their sacrifices and commitment to our country are appreciated, as are the skills and dedication they bring to SDCOE and our county to support all students."
The U.S. veterans who work at SDCOE are positively impacting students in the classroom; behind the scenes providing administrative or clerical support; and ensuring their safety and success through business services, maintenance and operation, and human resources.
This is Inez Ruiloba’s story of how her experience serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Latinx woman and mother helped her build connections and relationships with her students.
My name is Logistics Specialist Chief Petty Officer Inez Ruiloba, USNR, Retired. I served in the United States Navy Reserves for 24 years. I just retired Sept. 1, 2021. I did not transition from military to civilian life as I have had the privilege of serving in both capacities at the same time throughout both careers. It was my military career that helped me continue my college education and become a teacher for SDCOE Juvenile Court and Community Schools. I currently work in the Student Services and Programs division in the department of Systems of Support as a resource teacher.
Within six months of signing my contract as a teacher, I was recalled to active duty to support Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002. It would be a year and half before I returned to the classroom. Over the years, I served in various commands such as a humanitarian submarine rescue unit based off of Coronado Island. The only one of its kind in the U.S. I also served in many commands supporting the direct fleets CONUS and OCONUS, which included South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Singapore.
My experiences and storytelling of my life as mother and a Latina in the military was the way I built connections and relationships with my students. I was able to express the opportunities that military life offers, and the challenges faced as a person of color and gender. I also understood the importance of leading others through 'doing WITH them, not TO them,' a restorative approach that builds community. This is essential particularly when working within a unit to accomplish a mission together. It requires trust. I am forever grateful in serving my country and grateful still to those who have come before me and after me to stand the watch.
Careers After or During Military Service
It takes a workforce skilled in a variety of ways to innovate education and work to guarantee all students graduate prepared for college, career, and life. If that sounds like something you're passionate about, then learn more about job openings at SDCOE and schools across the county on the Work at SDCOE webpage.
Earning a Credential
With military experience, you have many options for entering the teaching profession, some of which can earn you an income while completing credentialing requirements. SDCOE offers a designated subjects program which includes the career technical education and special subjects credentials for industry professionals and military personnel. The requirements are far different than other credential programs both in prerequisites, coursework, and when to apply for the credential. Find out about these pathway options on the SDCOE Educator Pathways webpage.
Diploma Program for Veterans Impacted by War
The San Diego County Board of Education awards high school diplomas to qualifying U.S. veterans and Japanese American citizens through its Operation Recognition program. Through Operation Recognition, San Diego County residents who didn't graduate because of war may qualify for an honorary high school diploma.
The program honors veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and people detained in internments camps during World War II, whose lives were disrupted by war with an honorary high school diploma. Visit SDCOE's Operation Recognition page to learn more about our honorees and find the application form.
More to explore
The San Diego County Board of Education is accepting online applications for student board members now through Feb. 1 on the SDCOE student board member webpage.
Alicia McBride, an SDCOE teacher in the Juvenile Court and Community Schools East Region, was recently honored by the San Diego County Credit Union as part of its Classroom Heroes program.
The Juvenile Court and Community Schools student representative on the San Diego County Board of Education for November was M’Niya, a senior at San Pasqual Academy.
The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission selected Mara Madrigal-Weiss, executive director of student wellness and school culture for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), as its chair for the third consecutive year.
The San Diego County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution endorsing November 2023 as National Native American Heritage Month.
There are many local scholarship and contest opportunities available for students in San Diego County. Check this page often for updates.