Staff Spotlight: Learn why a counselor and a transition specialist at Castro Valley Adult & Career Education are inspired by their students every day

A woman in an office
Linette Escobar has been on staff at Castro Valley Adult & Career Education for 10 years. Photography by George E. Baker

Linette Escobar

Linette Escobar, a teacher and transition specialist at Castro Valley Adult & Career Education, has been teaching English as a Second Language to adults for more than 24 years. For the last 10 years, Escobar has been part of the staff at CVACE.

In addition to teaching classes, she helps helps people forge a pathway to their goals, whether that’s getting into college or starting a career training path. This might include finding resources for housing and immigration services, or assisting students in drafting resumes and practicing interviews.

“I love the second chance adult education brings,” Escobar says. “Seeing a 40-year-old woman who got pregnant during high school come back to complete their education is super rewarding. I feel like adult ed is really for people who fell through the cracks and it gives them a second chance and I really love being part of it.”

Prior to teaching, Escobar worked in politics and youth development. It was during that time she took steps to go into teaching. She started teaching in community colleges while simultaneously working for a nonprofit assisting refugees and immigrants. Escobar accepted a job in legal immigration services, but she soon realized she missed being in education. When a teaching and leadership job opportunity opened up at CVACE, she found herself positioned to merge her myriad of experiences and get back into adult education.

As both an ESL instructor and transition specialist, she plays a pivotal role in guiding students through the intricacies of academic and career transitions. While she has played a part in many students’ success stories, one student is particularly memorable.

“We had a student who had never been allowed to attend school as a child and arrived here as an adult who couldn’t read or do math,” recalls Escobar. “She would have to pretend to read to her children and make up the stories as she held a book open and she felt immense shame. She would always sit in the back of the classroom with a hoodie on and would not really participate because she was so ashamed of her level. She started with the adult basic ed program and last year she graduated after ten years with our school. She won an award from the state and in some ways, she is our biggest success story.”

Escobar emphasizes the value of receiving an education and believes it is key to creating fair and equitable opportunities for marginalized communities. She feels it opens up opportunities to earn a higher income, attain a better quality of life for their family, and ultimately uplifts the community as a whole. She says that CVACE not only offers a rewarding work environment and opportunities for collaboration with colleagues, but also serves as good place for those embarking on a journey toward impactful transformation.

Alina Tet

Alina Tet has been on staff at CVACE for four years. Photography by George E. Baker

In a landscape where mental health services for adult education remains under-addressed, Castro Valley Adult Career & Education stands out as a trailblazer, offering short-term therapy to all enrolled students. For many, CVACE is an institution that has fostered support and transformation in the community thanks to staff like Alina Tet, a mental health counselor, whose dedication and empathy have left indelible marks on the lives of students she has assisted.

For more than four years, Tet has served as a counselor at CVACE, a role that encompasses myriad responsibilities within the student services department. However, her journey to this role was marked by personal and professional challenges, reflective of the very population she now serves.

Tet immigrated from Romania and moved to the United States about 11 years ago. Her studies did not transfer completely and she had to rethink her career and essentially start over. She first got the idea of going into counseling when her friend noticed that she was good with children at the job she had at the time. Her friend recommended that she become a therapist and that is when Tet really started pursuing a career in counseling.

Her first exposure to counseling was through an internship with the school district. As time passed she learned that CVACE was hiring for a mental health counselor and was hired for the position. Initially, the job focused on counseling students with disabilities. However, the program eventually expanded to all students as there was a growing need for support among the broader student body.

Tet’s role extends beyond individual counseling sessions. She helps provide critical resources ranging from housing assistance to immigration services, all tailored to meet the unique needs of each student. She collaborates with fellow transition specialists on the student services team to enhance the support network available to CVACE students. Tet is often a lifeline for students grappling with a multitude of challenges, from educational and career transitions to personal crises.

“One story that sticks out is a student who was going through our GED program and while he was taking classes, his wife was diagnosed with cancer,” Tet recalls. “He wanted to quit so he can help his wife, which is totally understandable. But he came to see me because he wanted to learn how to support his wife. We ended up having couples counseling and they would both come to sessions together. They worked on a plan that was supportive for her chemo treatment and also supportive to help him get his homework done and attend class. A year after our sessions, he graduated from the program and eventually his wife ended up being cancer-free.”

Despite witnessing the hardships some students face firsthand, Tet finds profound fulfillment in her work.

“Out of all of the jobs I have done in my life, this is the most rewarding because I am directly helping people,” she says.“Don’t get me wrong, there were times that I would go home and cry because some of the stories the students have shared with me really brought tears to my eyes. At times it can be troubling because I see the gaps and how certain marginalized populations fall through those gaps. But being there to see a person transforming their lives and putting in that effort and being there to help them in times of need is really rewarding and I think I am in this for the long run.”

If you want to learn more about Castro Valley Adult & Career Education—as a potential staff member or student—visit

About Castro Valley Adult & Career Education 7 Articles
Castro Valley Adult & Career Education educates and prepares adults to train for new careers, continue their education, and pursue lifelong learning in a safe, supportive environment. Programs include High School Diploma/GED, English as a Second Language, Career Education, Parent Education and Adults with Disabilities. CVACE also offers a wide variety of Community Interest classes, such as computers, music, cooking and fitness and health.