South Coast Section

Scott Beachley: Huntington Beach Adult School

I wanted to take the time to share a success story of a very special Adult Education student.  His name is Scott (Zahir) Beachley and he is my son.  As the College and Career Specialist at Huntington Beach Adult School, I know first hand the struggles some of our students face in achieving their goals.  They experience many internal and external barriers and for that reason when a student reaches their desired goal the celebration is even sweeter.  My son had his share of barriers; considered Twice Exceptional, he is extremely intelligent but has battled with issues related to his ADHD/Aspergers diagnosis.  

Although he completed two years of college in Colorado at a private university, he had underdeveloped life skills that kept him from completing.  This left him at a crossroads.  This is when I referred him to Downey Adult School (my former employer) for their Massage Therapy program.  Blanca Rochin, the principal, rolled out the red carpet for Scott (as she does for every student).  She was highly professional, very caring, compassionate and welcoming.  Mr. Monte, the massage therapy teacher, is amazing.  He is attentive, gives individual instruction when needed and provides a lot of encouragement to students.  When Scott completed the program in November 2018, Mr. Monte gave a special graduation in his classroom where he gave a personal speech about each and every student.  His speech about my son brought me to tears.  I felt as if he had graduated from Harvard, and that is how I treated his accomplishment.  As a College and Career Specialist, I encouraged all of the graduates to continue their education.

I want to thank Mr. Monte from the bottom of my heart for the experience Scott had in his class.  Scott is now working at a couple local Spas doing sports massage and other various forms he learned.  The boss told me, “Scott is doing really great at my office – everyone likes him and at my chair massage events he does fantastic.  He’s a go getter.“  When I made the referral to Blanca’s school, I knew my son would be in good hands but his experience went over and above any expectations I had, especially due to the instruction he received from Mr. Monte.  I can’t say enough about their program.  In addition, the program was FREE due to the school being able to take the FAFSA.  

The notion behind pursuing massage therapy was that so he can have a flexible job with a good wage to allow him to finish school.  Scott is also taking classes at Cypress College and Coastline College and will be transferring to CSULB where he will major in Recreation Therapy, and eventually pursue Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.  He would like to open his own Wellness Center to provide services to the Autism Community.    I’m so very proud of him as I am of all of our students who put their trust in us as Adult Educators to help them make their career dreams come true.  I can’t think of a better example than Downey Adult School, Blanca Rochin and Mr. Monte.  Thank you! 

Sincerely, 

Valerie Beachleya
Huntington Beach Adult School
College and Career Specialist

Xiaoyi Yi Li: El Monte-Rosemead Adult School

Xiaoyi Yi Li was born in the province of Guangdong in China. Her father was a teacher and the inspiration for Xiaoyi Yi to become a teacher as well. Growing up, she always enjoyed school and started learning English in middle school. She was a top student and received numerous academic awards. Xiaoyi Yi became an elementary school teacher and taught in China for six years, then resigned to emigrate to the United States in 1999.

She had met her husband when they were in China, but he and his family had also emigrated to the United States and they were married in California. Xiaoyi Yi was anxious to continue her education in America.  She recalls arriving in California on a Friday, going to an amusement park that weekend, and registering for ESL classes at the Rosemead Adult School on Monday. She was put on wait list, so she decided to enroll in evening classes at Rosemead High School where she was placed in ESL Level 1 (Beginning Low). She was later called by the Rosemead Center where she was reevaluated and placed into Connie Villaruel’s Intermediate-Low class in the morning and Carmen Garcia’s ESL Level 3 class in the afternoon. Xiaoyi Yi finished all levels of ESL, completing the program in 2001.

Xiaoyi Yi’s next step was the High School Independent Studies Program which she completed in 2003. At the same time, she was working on her high school diploma, Xiaoyi Yi was taking classes at Pasadena City College where she obtained both an Associates of Arts and Associates of Science degrees with a major in Applied and Liberal Arts Studies.

In 2001 Xiaoyi Yi was hired as a part- time Adult Education Assistant. After learning additional skills in the workplace, she moved to the ESL Resource Office where she assisted in registering and giving placement tests to students, scanning CASAS tests and assisting the Resource teacher with a variety of projects. During this time, Xiaoyi Yi had two children and like so many adult students, balanced family, home and work. In 2006 she became an election volunteer inspector for Los Angeles County.  In 2015, she was hired as a Para Educator for the ESL Department where she helps students in the Beginning Literacy class. She gives educational support to students and prepares teaching materials for teachers.

Xiaoyi Yi is a lifelong learner who continues taking classes at El Monte- Rosemead Adult School and is certified in several CTE pathways, including Accounting Fundamentals, computer certifications at the expert level, and is currently in the Administrative Assistant pathway.

What impresses Xiaoyi Yi most about adult education is the dedication of the students, especially the effort the older adults make to come to school every day, and how happy students are to be there. Xiaoyi Yi is very happy to help students with all of their needs and truly enjoys giving them the same kind of encouragement her teachers had always given her.

As part of her commitment to adult education, Xiaoyi Yi became of member of CCAE. Whenever there is an event or fundraiser, she is there to help translate for the ESL Beginning Low students and helps them access resources to pay for books, public transportation or get medical help.

Norma Tellez: Montebello Community Adult School

Norma Tellez has always envisioned having a career in law enforcement. She wants to be a positive role model by helping and protecting the people of her community. When Norma first moved to the United States at the age of 16, this career path seemed like it would always be just a dream. She had no friends or family in this country and had to figure out how to support herself without understanding English or having papers to legally work. At the age of 19, she had her son and knew it was time to get educated.
 
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, there was a fire in Norma that always made her move forward to work toward improving her situation. She enrolled at Ford Park Adult School to learn English, though with work and a young child, attending class was challenging at times. Once her son was old enough for school, she began attending full time and completed all six levels of ESL. From there, she transferred into the High School Diploma Program.
 
Because Norma was undocumented, she had many jobs in which she was taken advantage of, underpaid, and poorly treated. She endured these hardships because she needed to put food on the table and a roof over her son's head. Norma has an amazing spirit and used these experiences to fuel her desire to improve her small family's life. She knew that education was the key.
 
Because of her work schedule, Norma could only attend her high school classes at night. Not having anyone to watch her son, she brought him with her. He became a fixture in class, doing his homework alongside his mother and going to sleep under her desk when he grew tired. Seeing Norma and her son together was inspiring. They were truly a team. She would explain to him that while times were hard now, they were temporary, and if they could just work together and help each other, she would make a better life for them.
 
With tremendous dedication, Norma completed all of her credits and in June 2016 graduated from high school at the top of her class. Her intelligence, positive attitude, and hard work didn't go unnoticed. Norma received the Henke Family Trust Scholarship, the biggest scholarship awarded by Montebello Community Adult School, in order to further her education.
 
Shortly after receiving her high school diploma, Norma achieved another milestone in her life. She obtained her work permit in the United States. Able to work legally and armed with her diploma, Norma quickly received an entry-level job with growth potential at a local company. She then enrolled in the Protective Services program at Ford Park Adult School, which she has since completed with glowing recommendations from her teachers. With this new certification, after completing six months with her current job, she will have the opportunity to transfer into the security department which will offer a livable wage, benefits, and a retirement package.   In addition, Norma has applied with the Sheriff's Department and passed her written test. With perseverance, passion, and determination, Norma Tellez proves that dreams can become reality!

Susan Perez: Montebello Community Adult School

Susan Perez began her career as a Clerical Assistant with Montebello Community Adult School (MCAS) in 1990. Susan thoroughly enjoyed office work and the students and staff she worked with. In 1996, Susan obtained her Vocational Education Credential. Computers were new to school sites, and Susan seized this new challenge and quickly learned anything and everything she could about them. She was instrumental in training staff on the benefits of computers and how to use them effectively. When the typing teacher retired, Susan was asked to take over the class, and a teacher was born! Susan taught the typing class for the next ten years.

In 2013, Susan was promoted to School Secretary at Bell Gardens Adult School. A year later, she also became the School Secretary at Ford Park Adult School. Susan was able to balance her enormous responsibilities at both sites as she moved back and forth between campuses each day.

Susan administered the GED and currently administers the HiSet exam. Susan was among the first to master ASAP and is extremely patient as she helps teachers and classified staff navigate their way through learning the system. Administrator Phillip Tenorio says of Susan, “Ms. Perez always goes above and beyond to help staff and students on campus. She is a big reason why Ford Park Adult School is a great place to learn. Susie makes my life easier and it is a pleasure to work with her every day.”

Susan is an enthusiastic supporter of all things CCAE. She uses her creativity and computer skills to make posters that are displayed throughout the campus to make sure all CCAE events are well publicized and supported.

Susan has also won the State award which was presented at the 2019 CCAE State Conference this spring in San Diego.

Ana Rubalcava: Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education

Ana Rubalcava is an incredible coworker and friend. With over 30 years of experience at the Baldwin Park Unified School District, she shares her skills and abilities with students and staff alike.

Ana entered adult education as a library technician in 1993, where she established an interactive learning resource for all. Presently, Ana is in charge of the Learning Center at Baldwin Park and Community Education. She serves students, teachers, and the community by maintaining the library resources and organizing workshops and events. She tutors students and puts extra effort into finding the best resources for each individual. Ana has dedicated herself to adult education through her role in support services and also holds a teaching credential in adult programs. Ana has taught basic computer skills and was involved in older adult programs. Her students consistently return and express how thankful they are for her instruction.

Apart from her work at BPACE she plays a key role in the CCAE South Coast Section as Section Treasurer. She advocates for CCAE Baldwin Park Chapter, as she has stepped up on multiple occasions to take on the duties of Chapter President.

With great thought, she uses her creativity and crafting skills to fundraise for student scholarships because, as she expresses, "It's for the greater good of our students and community." Baldwin Park is also Ana's hometown, and she participates and supports local events that bring families and friends together. Join us in recognizing Ana for her kindness and dedication. Great work, Ana!

Carrie Frogue: Montebello Community Adult School

With keen intelligence and acuity, combined with a practical can-do attitude, Carrie Frogue guides the development of a rigorous and relevant curriculum for ABE/ASE students at Montebello Community Adult School (MCAS).  Her dedication and joy of teaching for the past 18 years is clearly evident in all her work with staff and students.  

Immediately upon receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Whittier College, Carrie knew that a career in Adult Education was her calling and passion and began her career at MCAS.  Carrie creates innovative strategies to continually strengthen the ABE/ASE High School Diploma Program at MCAS.  She has helped to establish a College 101 program where high school students learn about researching and applying to colleges and universities and the financial aid process to ensure our Adult Education students know that they can continue their education at the college level.  Carrie organizes group community college tours and on-campus presentations for students to alleviate some of the nervousness of students who are going to college for the first time.  In addition, she serves on the technology committee working towards providing a hybrid program incorporating online coursework into the high school curriculum.  Carrie currently serves as MCAS’ Chief Examiner for HiSET.  This is a new venture for MCAS, and MCAS is proud to offer this test at a cost that is accessible to students in Montebello, many of whom are from low-income households.

Carrie does not only strive to assist students’ success; she also works hard to provide professional development to school district support staff and has taught classes in math, reading, and writing to ensure their continual advancement.  

While Carrie was Co-Chair for the WASC Leadership Team (2014-2015), MCAS achieved the rare 6-year clear accreditation.  She has also been involved in the LARAEC  (Los Angeles Regional Adult Education Consortium) planning process since 2014 and will continue to serve as a Subject Matter Expert/Working Group member for ABE/ASE programs.
 
A CCAE member for many years, Carrie has served as Co-Chair for the Awards Committee and is currently President-Elect of the Montebello Chapter of CCAE. Carrie traveled to Sacramento for CCAE’s Legislation Day in March of 2015 to advocate for the continuation of Adult Education within the K-12 system.  Her efforts as MCAS’ lead legislative advocate resulted in a letter sent by a legislator that same day to the Budget Subcommittee on Educational Finance asking for additional funding for Adult Education.  This swift action was unprecedented and attests to her team’s powerful and clear advocacy message to support Adult Education.
 
MCAS Director of Adult Education Consortium, Kathy Brendzal, creates this vision of Carrie:  “A hundred years from now, a hundred thousand things won't matter, but the world will be changed because Carrie was important in the lives of her students.”