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By Julian Peeples

“It takes an interdisciplinary team to make sure the needs of our students are met. I am thankful to be part of a team that engages families with school-based and community resources.”

For nearly 25 years, Deisy Bates has dedicated her time and effort to supporting students and their families in Hayward Unified School District. In recognition of this ongoing commitment by the Spanish language interpreter/translator to families served by HUSD’s special education department, as well as to members of the Association of Educational Office and Technical Employees (AEOTE), Bates has been named CTA’s 2020 Paula J. Monroe Education Support Professional of the Year.

Deisy Bates

“I am honored and humbled to be named CTA ESP of the Year, joining past recipients who I have long admired and respected,” Bates says. “Receiving this award has given me the opportunity to reflect on the work I have done, feel appreciated, and above all has provided me with the strength I need to continue serving my members during these difficult times.”

Bates, who is president of AEOTE, is currently working nonstop to advocate for and support her members as their work changes with the COVID-19 pandemic. And Bates also has an eye on related financial impacts of this crisis, organizing already to preserve her members’ jobs and much-needed services for Hayward Unified students.

Supporting the community where she lives has been a priority for Bates since she volunteered when her oldest child was in kindergarten at Hayward Unified. After assisting teachers for six years with students who are newly arrived to the United States, Bates started her career in special education as a paraeducator in 2001. A few years later, she became an interpreter/translator, showing the cultural sensitivity and awareness to build trust with families so teachers and specialists can provide the services their children need.

“It takes an interdisciplinary team to make sure the needs of our students are met, and I am thankful to be part of a team that engages families with school-based and community resources,” says Bates. “As a founding member of the Hayward Coalition for Healthy Youth, I worked alongside many organizations in the city to promote safe and healthy communities for our youth. The relationships built then have given me a solid foundation of additional resources and contacts that I never hesitate to tap into when families need assistance.”

Bates says she feels privileged to be a CTA member. As a leader in her chapter, Bates says CTA provides the tools and training she needs to help improve the lives of her members.

“We are leaders in advocating for social justice, human rights and educational policy that continue to improve public education,” she says.

Bates’ advocacy includes touting the collective efforts of her ESP colleagues, who are the backbone of public schools. She encourages ESPs to be ambassadors for their important work, to listen to the needs of their colleagues and fellow members, and to organize in their locals to build power and ensure students have the ESP services they need.

“A key to having a well-built local is closely related to our ability to continue developing relationships with other labor partners,” Bates says. “Establishing professional relationship with administration levels the playing field, and they understand the value of our input and how critical our jobs are in the success of our students.”

In nominating Bates for the award, fellow AEOTE member Kathy Vigil praised her passion for her colleagues, their students and the community of Hayward, as well as her “advocacy and leadership.”

Bates notes that having family support for her union work helps her help others.

“As you go on helping your association, make sure you have your rock that will help support you in your professional endeavors,” she says.