Faris Sabbah, Superintendent

County Office of Education

Dr. Faris Sabbah came to the United States as an immigrant. He lived in Iraq and Ecuador before coming to the United States to study at UC Santa Cruz where he received his Bachelors in Psychology. He received his Masters in Education from San Jose State University and his Doctorate in Educational Equity from UC Berkeley. Dr. Sabbah started his career in education an instructional aide and later as a teacher for migrant students. He taught social studies and worked as an Assistant Principal at Aptos High School. He then worked as Director of Migrant Education for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for 14 years. The highlight of his professional life was working with and learning from the migrant parents of the Pajaro Valley. He joined Santa Cruz County Office of Education in 2016 as Deputy Superintendent and was elected Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools in June 2018. He believes wholeheartedly that education is about serving the whole child, to disrupt inequitable practices and uplift student voice.

El Dr. Faris Sabbah vino a los Estados Unidos como inmigrante. Vivió en Irak y en el Ecuador antes de venir a los Estados Unidos para estudiar en la Universidad de California, Santa Cruz, donde recibió su Licenciatura en Psicología. Recibió su Maestría en Educación de la Universidad Estatal de San José y su Doctorado en Equidad Educativa de la Universidad de Berkeley. El Dr. Sabbah comenzó su carrera en educación como asistente de instrucción y luego como maestro para estudiantes migrantes. Enseñó estudios sociales y trabajó como subdirector en la preparatoria Aptos. Luego trabajó como Director de Educación Migrante para el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Pajaro Valley durante 14 años. Lo más destacado de su vida profesional fue trabajar y aprender de los padres migrantes del valle del pajaro. Se unió a la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Santa Cruz en el 2016 como Superintendente Adjunto y fue elegido Superintendente de Escuelas del Condado de Santa Cruz en junio de 2018. Él cree sinceramente que la educación se trata de servir al niño en su totalidad, para interrumpir las prácticas injustas y elevar la voz de los estudiantes.



Ruby Vásquez, 
Parent Education Trainer
Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD)
Educational & English Learner Services

BA in American Studies, UCSC
Bilingual Teaching Credential, UCSC
Masters in Educational Leadership, Mills College

Born and raised in Watsonville, Ruby began working as a bilingual educator over 30 years ago in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Currently Ruby is a Teacher On Special Assignment, as a Parent Education Trainer. 

Understanding that students live their lives in 3 different realms: the home, the school and the community/neighborhood, it is important to keep parents/guardians informed and equipped with the tools/practices, that are needed to allow them to actively support their child’s development in these 3 areas. As part of the PVUSD Parent Engagement Team, Ruby ensures that the information, activities and events that are offered to parents/guardians reflect what is needed. Thus, in 2016 the Parent Engagement Team, in collaboration with local community agencies, began offering workshops and professional development in the area of immigration issues. 

Besides teaching, Ruby is active in the arts, in particular Mexican folk dance. She is the assistant director to adult dance company Esperanza del Valle and is founder and instructor to Estrellas de Esperanza, a local children’s/youth dance group.