2022 Migrant Service Award Winners

TX-NGS Data

Specialist of the

Year

Sandra Santana

ESC-20

Sandra has been part of the systems specialist team for seven years. Through the many changes that have happened not only to ID&R, but also to TX-NGS, Sandra has jumped in and tackled the important task of tracking our migratory students. She is a crucial part of the ESC-20 team as she trains and helps certify staff across the region. Sandra is a very inviting presenter and is always going above and beyond to provide excellent customer service. Her kind and gracious manner lends itself to making new clients feel empowered and confident.

We have had several new staff through the years, and Sandra is always willing to train and to invite clients to call her whenever they have a need. Sandra helps multiple districts with meeting their requirements, always opening a door of service where she takes responsibility for helping the district achieve success. Making things easier for our partners is Sandra’s mission.

This past year we tragically lost one of our recruiters, and Sandra helped our team cope with our loss by carrying on some traditions that our Lucy was known for on our team. Sandra always offers to help everyone on the team with ID&R and TXNGS/ MSIX responsibilities. Whether a recruiter needs help with family surveys, assistance with an MSIX Move Notice, running reports to help identify students, Sandra shows up with a willing heart and a positive attitude. Sandra contributes to solving gaps on our team and improving communication between team members. Sandra’s ability to learn and willingness to educate others was very apparent during the NGS to TX-NGS system transition as she helped many to document what was needed and calmed fears across the region.

Sandra is also talented as a graphic designer and has used her skills to help us with marketing our community events for our migratory families. Her work was especially useful when she created a map to assist our families to navigate our Community Outreach Fair. Sandra served in the Navy for 20 years and has brought a special background to our team. Our migratory students have heard about her career in the military, and she is responsible for helping some of our students consider a career in the military.

Educator of the Year

 

Osiel Salinas

Robert Vela High School

Edinburg CISD

Region 1

Mr. Osiel Salinas has been the migrant counselor at Robert Vela High School since 2012. He obtained his bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies from The University of Texas Pan American (now The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). He also received his masters in guidance and counseling from the same university. He has worked previously with Edinburg Cavazos Elementary and as a teacher for Pharr San Juan Alamo ISD.

Mr. Salinas through his Alliance Migrant Club has taught migrant students’ life skills, leadership skills, and how to become responsible future members of our community. He assigns mentors to his struggling students and offers community service opportunities. He has migrant parent meetings and speaks about state assessments, tutorial services and invites community members to speak about their programs. He organizes college trips to tour campuses and visit College Assistance Migrant Programs (CAMP).

He was a migrant himself and now a role model to his students. His message is, "si se puede!” I admire Mr. Salinas for all his hard work and dedication to his migrant students and migrant community.

Support Staff of the Year

 

Deborah Ramirez

Edinburg CISD

Region 1

Deborah Ramirez brings strong assets to her role and her group feels fortunate to work with her due to her dedication and hard work. She is extremely organized and focused on continuously learning and developing best practices to manage routine activities both efficiently and effectively. She brings a positive high energy and a personal touch.

Deborah brings true professional attributes to the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District Migrant Education Department and genuinely cares about delivering excellent quality work. Deborah has the amazing ability to collaborate with each campus level TX-NGS Clerk to guide and support them in ensuring reports are implemented and submitted in a timely manner to carry out the contracts and grants the program requires through a comprehensive performance measurement system.

Deborah Ramirez truly deserves recognition for her work over the years for the Edinburg Consolidated School District. She has tackled Migrant Education projects for our department with graceful determination. She is always eager to manage and facilitate our campus-based TX-NGS clerks. She has unquestionably become the ‘go-to’ person!

Administrator of the Year

 

Wendy Fort

ESC-20

Wendy Fort has worked in the Migrant Education Program for twenty years. At the district level, she has overseen the migrant summer school program and the Building Bridges program, in addition to helping high school students enroll in post-secondary programs and obtain financial aid and scholarships, including CAMP scholarships. Some of “her” students have attended CAMP at WTAMU, St. Edward’s, UTEP, NMSU, and TAMIU and entered the workforce as nurses, teachers, CPAs, chefs, artists, and surgeons. At the regional level, Wendy has served as a Migrant Education Program Counselor, a College Access Specialist, a MEP Specialist, and a Title I Part C Consultant. At the state level, she is a member of the TEA Statewide TX-NGS Focus Group and the TEA ID&R Focus Group, and through AMET has served in the roles of Regional Director, Scholarship Coordinator, Vice President, President-elect, President, and is currently Past-President. Her national level involvement includes serving on the National Migrant Conference Planning Committee twice and presenting at the conference multiple times.

Wendy is professional, passionate, and organized. According to Valerie Peake, “She has enthusiasm, determination, and an eye for details. She is motivated and driven by the bottom line, student success! More than that she is a woman of character with strong integrity. She is dedicated to improving society through education with attentiveness, diligence, and thoroughness.” This year, Wendy has personally committed to offer a new scholarship for CAMP students attending the AMET conference. Her experiences with migratory families, students, LEAs, and ESC staff across the state of Texas is evident in her history with those she has met, and she has made a difference in more ways than one.

Wendy is known for her excellent customer service with ESC-20 LEAs in need of training and technical assistance. Clients across ESC-20 trust that Wendy will provide them with what is needed. Her expertise in ID&R and TX-NGS is beyond reproach. Her commitment to supporting MEP Project Districts is evident in the quick way she problem solves, coaches, and offers solutions to those who come to her. Dianna Diaz, Uvalde MEP recruiter, shared, “Wendy always makes us feel that it's okay to ask for help when in need of assistance, no matter how simple or difficult the question may be. Anytime we encounter a difficult scenario, we reach out to her because we know that she always has the answer. She never ceases to amaze at how quickly she can think of a solution. Wendy is very committed to the Migrant Education Program and is always finding ways to better serve our migratory population. She is an amazing leader, and we are so fortunate to have her.”