At the July meeting of the Gavilan College Board of Trustees, Daniel Dodge, aide to California Assemblymember Luis Alejo, took the microphone to present framed certificates of recognition to Rachel Perez and Natalie Juarez, two employees retiring from Gavilan College following their more than four decades of service in education.
Rachel Perez most recently served as Interim Dean of Student Learning and Engagement at Gavilan College. Since 1993 she has held various positions at Gavilan including: Director of Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS), Director of Special Projects, and Acting Vice President of Student Services. She developed the Noncredit Education program for Gavilan College, establishing the Computer Technology Center in partnership with Gilroy Unified School District, where adults can learn English for the workplace and citizenship, and prepare for GED exams. She served on the steering committee for Silicon Valley ALLIES: the Alliance for Language Learners' Integration, Education and Success.
Prior to coming to Gavilan College, Perez worked for the Gilroy Unified School District where she developed the Pregnant and Parenting Teen Program. She also worked as a teacher, counselor, and administrator at GUSD.
Perez earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Home Economics and Latin American Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Counseling and Student Personnel, both from San Jose State University. She holds a California Standard Teaching Credential with a Specialization in Secondary Teaching. Perez has also been very active in the community, serving on the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission, Gilroy Rotary, and the boards of directors for St. Josephs Family Center and the Latino Family Fund.
Perez briefly spoke about her career, which started as a teacher in Milpitas, 43 years earlier. On her first day she was assigned to yard duty, and had to break up a fight. "I learned not to get between two girls who were fighting!" She spoke well of her time at Gavilan and the people she worked with, and encouraged the board of trustees to "keep the COMMUNITY in Community College."
Natalie Miranda-Juarez was hired in 1972 as an Administrative Secretary while still a Gavilan College student. She has held various positions during her time at Gavilan including Financial Aid Assistant, Instructional Secretary, and Senior Departmental Assistant. She has worked as a Program Services Specialist at the Gavilan College Hollister site for the past seven years. Natalie holds an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Gavilan College.