Published in the June 13 – 26, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

The San Francisco 49ers will join the Santa Clara County Library District for this year’s Summer Reading program, which started June 1 and lasts through July 31. The 49ers join returning sponsors The Tech Museum of Innovation and Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in supporting SCCLD’s 2018 Summer Reading programming — Reading Takes You Everywhere.

“The addition of the 49ers as a program sponsor will encourage kids and adults alike to get engaged with summer reading,” said Nancy Howe, county librarian. “We especially want our young people to soar and not slide when it comes to retaining the skills they learned during the school year.”

Dozens of events are planned across eight libraries, ranging from science shows, to reading events for kids, to author talks for adults. The heart of Summer Reading is to challenge each participant to read at least five books. There will be tote bags for adult participants and incentives for children to encourage them to take part.

All kids and teens ages 6-18 who register for the program at and reach this goal by July 31 will receive a reward of free books and two passes to a 49ers training camp practice in August (while supplies last). They will also be entered to win special 49ers prizes which consist of autographed 49ers memorabilia or a chance to win the grand prize, a special 49ers Pre-Season Game Day Experience.

“We are excited to support Santa Clara County Library District’s efforts to encourage children and adults to continue learning through the ‘Reading Takes You Everywhere’ program,” said 49ers Community Relations Director Stacy McCorkle.

Sounds like a great program that will help our students retain and improve their reading skills during the summer vacation.

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The Gilroy Unified School District ended the school year on an exceptional note with multiple awards.

Rod Kelley Elementary School was recognized as a California Distinguished School by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, and as a top Bay Area public school for underserved students by Innovate Public Schools in April.

In May, Dr. TJ Owens Early College Academy received a Gold ranking as the 23rd ranked high school in California (172 nationally) by US News and World Report.  Gilroy High School received a Silver ranking as the 480th ranked high school in California (2,451 nationally) by the same publication. Also in May 2018, Educational Results Partnership and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence recognized four Gilroy Unified School District schools as 2017-18 California Honor Roll schools. This year, the California Honor Roll recognized 1,798 higher performing schools that are distinguished for their academic achievement and closing achievement gaps. Dr. TJ Owens Early College Academy, Christopher High School, Rod Kelley Elementary and Las Animas Elementary were all recognized with this award.

Image result for Rachael Cornaggia

Rachael Cornaggia

South Valley Middle School seventh grade math teacher, Rachael Cornaggia, has recently been named the Gilroy Unified School District Teacher of the Year by the Santa Clara Office of Education. Glen View Elementary School Principal, Christine Vasquez-Pereira, was recently named a Superstar First-Year Administrator by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Gilroy High School’s Athletic Director Jami Reynolds received the Norm MacKenzie “Rookie of the Year” award from the California State Athletic Directors Association in April. Finally, the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education named Jean Wells-Southard as the new principal of Rucker Elementary School. Well-Southland takes over for Christine Anderson, a long-time GUSD Administrator, who retired in June.

“We are so proud of our school sites, staff members, students and families that make Gilroy Unified School District the best it can be.  I am especially grateful to the staff members at these school sites, and throughout the district, who do the work day-in and day-out to ensure that our students have the best educational experience possible. It is true that our people are the best thing about Gilroy Unified and these awards are evidence of this,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah A. Flores.

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And there’s even more good news coming from the school district. This summer, educators from Morgan Hill Unified School District and Gilroy Unified School District are partnering to host the inaugural Elementary Summer Science Symposium June 12, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Christopher High School. This professional development opportunity is open to all elementary school teachers and administrators, and is the brainchild of Julia Cook, a teacher on special assignment at MHUSD, Kanani Pratt, the coordinator of educational services at GUSD, and Adrianne Wilkinson, the K-5 academic coach for GUSD. The event will provide more in-depth understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards to elementary teachers in both districts.

“We are thrilled to partner with Morgan Hill Unified and their staff to offer this professional development opportunity to both district’s elementary school teachers,” said GUSD Superintendent Flores. “This is the first time GUSD and MHUSD have partnered together to provide learning opportunities for our staff members and we are looking forward to future opportunities.”

The event features presenters from NASA, the Tech Museum of Innovation and the Santa Clara County Office of Education and introduced the latest science resources for elementary school teachers before they return to their classrooms next school year.

Attendees can choose from 10 workshops to attend, each presented by an expert in that field. Presenters include: Dr. Karen Crow Roark, NASA Ames Research Center; Liz O’Hare, Tech Museum of Innovation; and Gulsum Oz, NASA Ames Research Center; Kay Guenther, GUSD; Jennifer Janzen, SCCOE; Sandi Yellenberg, SCCOE; Jennifer Kingman, MHUSD; Martin Cisneros, SCCOE; Alicia Hom, MHUSD; and Julia Cook, MHUSD.

Sounds like a great program and a way for educators to improve their teaching skills.


Robert Airoldi

Editor at Gilroy Life
Robert Airoldi is the editor of Gilroy Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi