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At the May 2, 2024 regular meeting, the Board of Trustees appointed two administrators to the GUSD leadership team: Lisa Aguerria, Principal at Luigi Aprea Elementary School, and Nicole Babcock, Accounting Supervisor.  "We are so excited to have Lisa Aguerria and Nicole Babcock join our leadership team," shared Superintendent Anisha Munshi.  Both new administrators begin their role on July 1, 2024.  

Lisa Aguerria, Principal, Luigi Aprea Elementary School

LIsa AguerriaLisa Aguerria is a seasoned educator with over two decades of experience in fostering academic excellence and equitable learning environments.  Currently serving as the Assistant Superintendent at the Pajaro Valley Unified School District in Watsonville, CA, Lisa has dedicated her career to advancing equity and excellence in education.

During her tenure as Principal of Burnett Middle School, Lisa implemented innovative strategies to enhance academic rigor, foster a positive school culture, and increase parental involvement.  In her current capacity as Assistant Superintendent at the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Lisa oversees a broad spectrum of responsibilities, including curriculum development, instructional leadership, and equity initiatives, TK-12. Notably, she served as the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education for three years. 

Lisa's dedication to professional growth is evident in her pursuit of advanced training and certifications. She holds a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership & Administration from San Jose State University and has completed prestigious programs at Stanford University, including the EdLEADers Professional Certificate Program and the Principal Fellows Program. 

Ms. Aguerria is thrilled to become a part of the vibrant Luigi Aprea School Community. Go Bulldogs!

Nicole Babock, Accounting Supervisor

Nicole BabcockNicole Babcock is the newly appointed Accounting Supervisor for the Gilroy Unified School District.  She began her career in the Business Services Department in 2012. She has worked her way through various positions within the department including, accounts payable, attendance reporting and payroll. 

Nicole is driven by a strong dedication to promoting ongoing learning and professional development. She is passionate about contributing to the success and financial well-being of our community’s schools. 

Nicole is excited and eager to contribute her skills and experience in the role as the Accounting Supervisor. Nicole resides in Gilroy with her husband, and is the proud mother of two adult daughters, both Gilroy Unified School District graduates. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys working out, hiking and the outdoors. Additionally she loves spending time with her family and animals. She is a huge football fan and loves cheering on her favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers.

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GUSD Communications

At the April 18, 2024 regular meeting, the Board of Trustees appointed seven administrators to the GUSD leadership team.  "I'm thrilled to welcome such dynamic leaders to the Gilroy Unified School District team.  These seven individuals represent a diverse background of expertise and experience," shared Superintendent Anisha Munshi.  Six of the seven new administrators begin their role on July 1, 2024.  

Michelle Cat, Program Administrator of Early Literacy and English Language Development

Michelle CatMichelle Cat is the newly appointed Program Administrator of Early Literacy and English Language Development for the Gilroy Unified School District. Michelle’s passion for learning and literacy stems from her immigrant parents’ belief in the transformative power of education. With the guidance of her family and teachers, Michelle discovered her vocational calling early on. As a first-generation Vietnamese-American, she became the first in her family to graduate from a major university, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English (with an emphasis in Critical Theory) from the University of California, Davis in 2012, followed by her Single Subject Teaching Credential (English) in 2013 and her Master of Arts in Education in 2014.

Over the past decade, Michelle has assumed various roles at Christopher High School that have equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of literacy and English language development. She taught (and acted as the cohort leader for) a wide array of literacy and English development courses spanning from English Language Arts (EL Pathway, College Prep, and Honors) and Academic Language Development (ALD). Moreover, she was appointed as the site’s Instructional Specialist, designing and delivering EL-focused professional development sessions for her colleagues. Throughout her tenure, Michelle strongly promoted inclusivity, empathy, rigor, and engagement in the classroom.

Michelle’s instructional practices have been recognized by her peers and students. In 2019, she was honored as Teacher of the Year by Christopher High School’s student body. Additionally, she was selected as the Commencement Keynote Speaker by the graduating class in 2018 and 2021, reflecting the strong connections she built with students over the years. Michelle was also the recipient of the Dorothy Wright Outstanding Teaching Award from San Jose State University, an accolade awarded to educators who effectively prepared students for college writing courses.

During the 2023-2024 school year, Michelle serves as the Instructional Coach (Secondary) for GUSD’s EL Program. In this capacity, she partners with district stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the program. She also offers guidance to all secondary sites in the planning and execution of professional development training.

Michelle is a champion of students, especially Multilingual Learners, and a staunch supporter of the educators who teach them. She looks forward to further contributing to the Gilroy community as the Program Administrator of Early Literacy and ELD. 

In her spare time, Michelle enjoys sharing a warm meal with family and friends, exploring new destinations, and engaging in indoor and outdoor exercise as much as possible.

Keli DaSilva, Food Service Supervisor

Keli DaSilvaKeli began working for Gilroy Unified School District in 2006 as both a Yard Duty and with the After School Program at Las Animas. A short time after, she became part of the Child Nutrition Department as a Food Service Assistant at Gilroy High School. Keli then began working through the ranks of the Department, she was promoted to Satelite Kitchen Operator I at GECA and held that position for 10 years. Next, Keli held the position as Satellite Kitchen Operator II at Mt. Madonna Continuation High School for 4 years. Keli was then promoted to Satellite Kitchen Operator III at Christopher High School and has held that position since 2022. 

Keli’s leadership and drive rapidly boosted Christopher High School’s quality and meals served. Christopher High School now serves over 2000 meals per day and is the model kitchen for the District. Keli has always been known for being passionate about her work, serving the highest quality and nutritious meals to her students, and creating a family atmosphere with her staff. Keli goes above and beyond to keep her students well fed and happy. She treats all students as if they are her own. While Keli worked at Mt. Madonna, she was the recipient of the 2016 Santa Clara County Classified Employee of the Year Award.

Outside of the Child Nutrition Department, Keli has a son and daughter, who both serve in the US Navy. She also has two stepsons who work in the High-Tech industry on both the East and West Coasts. In her spare time, she loves to garden, specifically taking care of plants, fruit trees and landscaping.

Keli has worked in many positions within the Child Nutrition Department, which gives her a unique perspective and ability to improve quality and quantity of meals served. Students are then able to learn at their highest level when they receive nutritionally balanced meals.  Keli begins in her new role on May 1, 2024.

Stacey Helguera, Assistant Principal, Gilroy High School

Stacy HelgueraStacy Helguera holds a BA in liberal studies/teacher education from Dominican University of California, MS in Mathematics Education from Walden University, and studied at the University of San Francisco where she earned an Administrative Credential.

 She began her career teaching middle school mathematics and as an instructional coach in San Jose Unified School District.  She has served as an Assistant Principal for the last 10 years at San Jose High School, Live Oak High School, and Prospect High School with Campbell Union High School District.

She is a member of ASCA and the Dominican University of California Women’s Leadership and Philanthropy Council.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, shopping and attending Giants and 49er games.

Michael Pilacik, Program Administrator of Work-Based Learning and CTE

Michael PilacikMichael Pilacik is excited to take the next step in being the new program administrator of Work-based Learning and CTE (Career and Technical Education). With one whole year of working in this district as an English teacher at Gilroy High School, he is eager to offer more for our work-based learning and CTE programs. Within the one year, he took the opportunity to mentor brand new teachers, assist the administration with IEP and 504 meetings, participate in the School Site Council and video record the football games. 

Michael has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theater directing from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters of Arts Teaching in English and Special Education from Montclair State University. He received his EL authorization from the University of California, Berkeley and his administrative services credential from the San Mateo County Office of Education. He still has his Single Subject Credential in English. 

Majority of Michael’s background with CTE stems from the theater world. A good chunk of theater requires the construction of several aspects to make a show. He was able to learn how to build sets with construction and painting, the use and construction of lights, costumes, props and even demolishing/striking the set. These skills were vital for the rest of his life that he even brought them with him in assisting in the reconstruction of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He was able to intern, work and even participate in class and workshops with such theater companies as the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Shakespeare Santa Cruz (or now known as Santa Cruz Shakespeare), and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. 

For the past eight years before coming to Gilroy, Michael taught English and Drama at South San Francisco High School. He was also responsible for putting together theatrical productions as a producer, director, construction manager and any other title seemed fit. He worked during summer school as both a teacher and administrator for three different programs: Big Lift Enrichment, STEAM and Elevate Math and CSI (Computer Science Initiative).

Samantha Rivas, Assistant Principal, Christopher High School

Samantha RivasSamantha Rivas, having over two decades of dedicated service, brings a wealth of experience in teaching and counseling to the Gilroy Unified School District. Holding a B.A. in Social Science, an M.A. in Educational Counseling with PPSC Credential, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and an Administrative Credential, Samantha is unyielding in her commitment to fostering student well-being and academic success.

As an Assistant Principal at Rancho San Justo Middle School in Hollister, CA, Samantha played a pivotal role in cultivating a positive school climate. She coordinated the Tier II Team, established and oversaw the Bronco Wellness Center, and coordinated with community-based agencies to provide support services for students and families. Samantha's ability to form strong relationships with students contributes to her adept handling of disciplinary matters and resolution of student conflicts.

Previously, Samantha served as an MTSS Intervention Counselor at Hollister High School, supporting at-promise students within the Baler Wellness Center. She is passionate about supporting “the whole child” and serving her school community as a compassionate leader. 

She's a proud mother of two daughters, ages 21 and 17, one graduating from UC Davis and the other heading to UC Santa Cruz next school year. In her free time, Samantha finds joy in traveling, exploring new places, enjoying warm nights in her backyard with her husband, and reading a good book.

Ivory Trams, Assistant Principal, Brownell Middle School

IIvory Tramsvory Trams is ecstatic to be joining the Bruin family as the newly appointed Assistant Principal at Brownell Middle School. She is a lifelong resident and graduate of Gilroy schools.

Ivory received her M.A. in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University, and her undergraduate in Psychology at California State University of Monterey Bay. She holds a Multiple Subject Credential and an Administrative Services Credential. For the last 15 years, she has worked in both private and public elementary schools; both in primary and intermediate grades through various leadership capacities such as discipline committees, leadership committees, team leads, mentor for new teachers, curriculum development, coaching, and as a GTA union representative.

She is passionate about empowering the next generation of leaders through innovative thinking and reflective practices. She believes in creating a safe and welcoming environment that is culturally responsive and diverse. A place that values and promotes inclusion for all students, with strong ties to the community.

In her spare time, she loves to build with Legos, read novels, go on long cross-country road trips, garden, try new recipes and spend time with her family. 

Myrna Zendejas, Program Administrator of Mental Health and Wellness

Myrna Zendejas

Myrna has over 20 years of experience in the education system, serving in wide-versed capacities.  Before her appointment, Myrna served as a District Social Worker with Santa Clara Unified School District.  She has been instrumental in building a social work intern team in partnership with neighboring universities. She is passionate about working with educators, families, and students to remove barriers to learning. She is committed to ensuring all students achieve their educational and social-emotional goals.  

She enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and pets. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading. 

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GUSD Communications

On May 22, 2024 Christopher High School was placed on code blue lockdown, as Gilroy Police Department and the Gilroy Fire Department responded to an incident involving two students which resulted in one student being stabbed by the other.  

Christopher High School staff and the School Resource Officers quickly intervened, and code blue protocols were enacted campus-wide at approximately 11:58 am.

The victim was transported to a local hospital, and the suspect was arrested. The code blue was lifted at 12:58 pm as first responders completed their investigation.  

Counselors are onsite at Christopher High to provide support to students requesting it.  District leadership are also onsite to provide support through the end of the school day.

GUSD Communications

Congratulations to the Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, affectionately known as GECA, for being named a 2024 California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education! Fewer than 300 middle and high schools in California earned the honor this year.

“It is my pleasure to honor and recognize these 293 secondary schools for their efforts to provide exemplary public education to all students,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond shared about this year’s program. “Excellent middle schools and high schools play a critical role in the life outcomes of our young people. This year’s California Distinguished Schools celebration provides us with an opportunity to recognize the hard work of our secondary educators and school staff who help our young adults discover passions and access college- and career-ready experiences that will propel them through life.”

Read the full release: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr24/yr24rel09.asp

Congratulations Griffins! We are proud of you!

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GUSD Communications

At the March 7 regular meeting, the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education approved the appointment of two new administrators: Julie Berggren as the Principal at Gilroy High School and Deedy Camarena as the Principal of Brownell Middle School.  Julie assumes the reins at Gilroy High School on July 1, 2024 following the retirement of current principal, Greg Kapaku, and Deedy succeeds Mike Nebesnick, at Brownell Middle School, who is also retiring.  

Julie Berggren, Principal, Gilroy High School

Julie Berggren"I am thrilled to welcome Julie back to Gilroy High School," shared Superintendent Anisha Munshi,  "She is a lifelong learner, deeply committed to delivering exceptional educational and co-educational experiences to foster success among students and staff.  I know she will create a culture that embraces the unique strengths of her school community that promotes learning and personal growth through effective systems.”

Berggren is ecstatic to be re-joining the Mustangs.  She began her teaching career as a Physical Education teacher at Gilroy High School in 2001.  During her time at Gilroy High School, Julie was also Activities Director, Athletic Director, Link Crew Coordinator, Community Service Coordinator, Leadership Teacher, and Head Softball coach.

Julie earned her Bachelor's Degree (1999) and Multiple Subject Teaching credential (2001) from Chico State and her Master's in Education, Administration & Supervision from San Jose State University in 2015.

Throughout her career, Julie has been recognized for her leadership skills.  In 2021, she was named the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 8 Secondary Co-Administrator of the Year.  She is the recipient of the 2015 Norm Mackenzie Award, Central Coast Section Rookie AD of the Year and the CIF State Honor Coach of the Year.  

Currently, she is a member of the CIF Leadership Initiative, CCS Sportsmanship Committee, and BVAL Board of Managers.  She also is a member of the Leadership Gilroy Class of 2024.

In her spare time, Julie enjoys gardening, “glamping,” and cheering for the San Francisco Giants!  She will remain in her role as Assistant Principal at Christopher High School, a position she has held since 2016, until June 30, 2024.

Deedy Camerena, Principal, Brownell Middle School

Deedy CamarenaDeedy Camarena is the newly appointed Principal at Brownell Middle School.  She served as the Assistant Principal beginning in October 2021. As the Assistant Principal at Brownell Middle School, Deedy Camarena worked closely with the principal, teachers, and other staff to assess student and staff needs. Ms. Camarena oversees instructional processes, managing student discipline, and ensuring attentiveness to the overall health, safety, and welfare of students within the school environment.  Working with students, parents, teachers, and community agencies is a passion of hers as it lends itself to opportunities for positive collaboration and communication regarding academics and culture and climate. 

Prior to being an principal, Deedy served as the Santa Clara County Office of Education Coordinator of ELD, Dual and World Languages, a district-wide ELD Summer School administrator, ELD Coach, ELD Teacher on Special Assignment, World Language high school teacher as well as an elementary school teacher.  She received extensive training in pedagogy that supports Multilingual Learners, analyzing and evaluating data to inform instruction, equitable instruction and developing systems and structures for language development.

Deedy received her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from National University, and her undergraduate in Spanish at the University of California, Irvine (Go Anteaters!). She holds a multiple subject credential with a Bilingual, Cross-Cultural, Language, and Academic Development authorization, and an administrative services credential.

She is passionate about supporting educators to utilize language in the classroom as a means of discourse and learning, as she is a champion for Multilingual Learners, which are a huge part of Brownell Middle School.

In her spare time, she loves to hike in the bay area, and spend time with her 3 dogs, Izzy, Kima and Ivi.

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For media requests regarding the Gilroy Unified School District and our school communities, please contact Melanie Corona, Public Information Officer.