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Get to Know SDCOE's Retirement Reporting Team

Get to Know SDCOE's Retirement Reporting Team
SDCOE retirement staff members grouped together

Get to know the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) team that works behind the scenes to constantly ensure that retirement data for SDCOE and 47 other local education agencies is accurately reported to the statewide retirement systems.

The Retirement Reporting department audits payroll and personnel records to ensure correct pay rates, earnings, and personal information are submitted to CalPERS and CalSTRS.

The 15-person team, led by Beth Valderrama and Laura Benavides, also help 31 charter schools, five community college districts, and independent schools with retirement reporting. In just one month, the team reported 93,000 lines of data and $110 million in retirement contributions to the state.

Both Valderrama and Benavides said they were drawn to the work because they love numbers and were interested in careers in public education.

“Education plays a powerful part of our trajectory and is something we carry with us throughout our lives,” Valderrama said. “I see our work as assisting the people who are in direct contact with students to build a long career and be prepared for retirement at the end of it. That feels good.”

Valderrama started with SDCOE as a temporary employee in 2013 and became the team lead this year when longtime manager Tammy Britt did what she helped so many others do over the years: She retired.

Benavides started at SDCOE more than four years ago and said she enjoys the work, especially knowing that what she does helps others now and in the future. “I wanted to serve the public, and I thought this would be a great way to do it,” she explained. Benavides thinks people would be surprised by the complexities of the work they do as well as the volume of it.

One of the most motivating aspects of the job is knowing that the team is developing processes that help make things easier for others, including collaboration with other SDCOE departments such as the PeopleSoft Support and other Integrated Technology Services teams.

“It is really rewarding when you can collaborate with others to make the work more innovative and efficient,” Valderrama said. “That is awesome, and it’s definitely a group effort."

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