Southeast Middle School

South East Middle School


Welcome to South East Middle School GEAR UP!  Home of the Eagles!

GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded program that works to address challenges faced by low income, first-generation, minority students who make up almost 50% of today’s college population.

South East Middle School is 1 of 13 GEAR UP schools located in South Gate and is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District family.  GEAR UP uses a unique cohort model. The model  follows current 7th and 8th grade students from  high school into their first year of college. The graduating classes of 2027-28 and 2028-29 currently at South East Middle School, will receive support and guidance up until their first year of college!

Our GEAR UP staff is ready to help turn your dream into a diploma!

Room: B-122
Phone: 323-568-3100
Message: 213-605-1013

Our Staff

Questions? Contact us at Text Phone: (213) 605-1013 (Contact GEARUP).

  • Alex Garcia

    Site Coordinator

    • College:
    • Glendale Community College, A.A.- Sociology
    • University of California, Riverside, B.A.- Sociology
    • California State University, Los Angeles- Teaching Credential in Social Science, M.A. – Latin American Studies
    • Favorite Movie: I enjoy short films and documentaries about nature.
    • Favorite Food: I like trying new food, but really enjoy the traditional dishes from my native country Guatemala, such as Tamales, tortillas, and black beans.
    • My biggest influence: My biggest influence in my life is my mother. She is a single immigrant mother with a 3rd grade education who came to America undocumented and raised three children on her own. She taught me how to be hard working, helpful, and persistent.
  • Gema Valadez

    Academic Counselor

    • College:   BA CSULB
    • MA/Credential CSUDH
    • Favorite: Movie: McFarland and Zootopia
    • Favorite Food: Greek/Mediterranean
    • My biggest influence: My two sons. They are my inspiration. Every day I work to be a positive influence in their life.
    • Why I love my job:  What is there not to love! Every day I come to work, and get to help students reach their potential. On top of that, I get to work with an awesome staff whose energy and enthusiasm are a constant inspiration.
  • Zenus Desmukes

    Academic Advisor

    • College: Grand Canyon University
    • Favorite Movie: Training Day
    • Favorite Food: Tacos
    • My biggest influence: My biggest influence in life would be my grandmother. She was
    • always one of the main driving forces in my life where I am at today. She would
    • always stay on me about school, but more so focused on the development of my
    • character. From day one she only expected success and never anything less.
    • Tough love was the name of the game and I believed I am a better man today
    • because of it.
    • Why I love my job: I Love doing what I do because I LOVE YOU! Simple, but yet a firm statement. I am here to build a stronger and a more advanced community in a place that is criminalized on a daily basis. I want to show the world that students that come out of these beautiful communities are just as worthy of a college education as anyone else. They are the pathway to a new tomorrow and it is important that we make that known and help them achieve their goals. I enjoy seeing the smiles on students’ faces once they’ve accomplished a goal that was thought as “unachievable”. That’s what I do this for. Each human being on this planet is here to serve a purpose and I am honored that I get to serve in helping finding yours.
  • Sheyla Perez

    Academic Advisor

    • College:University of California Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!)
    • Favorite Movie: The Dark Knight, The Lion King, Toy Story
    • Favorite Food: Everything! Guatemalan, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, and Chinese just to name a few.
    • My biggest influence: My biggest influence is my mom because she has always been my number one fan, confidant, friend, role model, and hero.
    • Why I love my job: I love my job because I can give and receive. Each student, family, and staff member has something special to bring to the table. It is fulfilling to know that every day I am able to help someone else besides myself. Together we help each other grow and find the talents that we might not see in ourselves.