Cherry Chase Elementary School
The journey from parent to principal has spanned 28 years so far in the Sunnyvale School District for Mrs. Anita Lee, who is currently in her fifth year as the principal at Cherry Chase Elementary School. Prior to that, she taught primary grades for ten years at San Miguel Elementary School and then coached there for another six years. (If you’re doing the math, she spent the remaining seven years as a Sunnyvale parent prior to teaching.)
In whatever community she has served, Anita has maintained the value that learning needs to happen within the context of caring. Children thrive when they are surrounded by adults who care, and those adults can thrive when they know that they are similarly supported by colleagues who care.
Growing up in an Air Force family, Anita attended 9 schools between Kindergarten and 12th grade. She understands from that personal perspective the need for resilience in children and adults and knows that people can adapt to changing circumstances with support. Resilience and relationships are essential needs in our diverse communities, so she has welcomed the opportunity to work with Acknowledge Alliance to support their development in her school communities.
Anita is grateful for the support that Acknowledge Alliance provides through teacher and principal resilience groups, as well as from resilience consultants. Together we create school communities where Learning is CORE – caring, organized, respectful and engaging!
7th Grade World History Teacher
Kennedy Middle School
Jessica Norris grew up in the small town of Lakeport, and lived one block away from Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California. She attended UC Berkeley, where she graduated with a major in Rhetoric and a minor in Ethnic Studies. While this type of major generally yields lawyers, Jessica decided to pursue teaching. She continued her education at CSU Chico, where she received her teaching credential in both single and multiple subjects. Her first teaching job was at Roy Cloud Elementary School in Redwood City, where she taught 6th and 8th grade English and History for three years. For the past eight years, she has taught 7th
grade History at Kennedy Middle School in Cupertino.
Jessica has always loved school. When she was a child, she would play “school” and pretend to teach her younger sister. She grew up attending various school events because her father worked for the local school district. After graduating from college, she changed paths from law to education. Her mom suggested that if she was a teacher she could “always be in school.”
As an educator, Jessica shares her passion and love for learning with her students. From a small school to a large school, she addresses the need for building a sense of community with her students. This includes daily activities in her class, to whole campus events. Jessica helps her students feel safe, included, and excited to come to school.
Selby Lane School
Ivette Ramos started her education at San Francisco State University’s Psychology department. During her undergraduate studies, she volunteered at Head Start for AmeriCorps, where she realized her passion for working with children. Through her work, she discovered the joy of giving back to her community and decided that she may be better able to make meaningful impact in the lives of students with exceptional needs by furthering her education. She pursued a master’s degree in School Psychology, and became the first in her family to obtain an advanced degree.
Ivette has had the privilege of working as a School Psychologist for the past three years at Selby Lane in Redwood City. Selby Lane has given her invaluable opportunities working with students of different backgrounds, education, and social/emotional needs. During her time working with students with emotional dysregulation, her focus has been to build and create a nurturing and safe learning environment for students. Ivette believes that with appropriate accommodations and support, every student has the ability to meet their highest potential in and out of the classroom.
Community School Coordinator
Selby Lane School
Cesar Zuñiga is the proud Community School Coordinator and R.E.A.C.H After School Program Director at Selby Lane School. He was born and raised in Redwood City, CA and an alum of Redwood City schools. He studied Sociology and also played soccer at San Diego State University. Along with Selby Lane, Cesar has worked for the City of Redwood City Parks and Recreation Department along with partnerships with the Redwood City School District for 17 years. His involvement in After School programs, event planning and administration have helped him gain experience in understanding school needs from 7am-7pm. Working with children and youth has always been his passion, especially in the communities where he grew up. He is a strong believer in building a great team (student, school, family, community) and he is dedicated to helping students succeed in and out of the classroom. He prides himself on always being available to help in any way and strives to make students, families and staff feel confident in their abilities and trust that they are supported and appreciated. Being a face and a voice for the "Community School" is extremely important to him and through challenges and hardships we might face in our communities, he is proud to stand together with his community and find solutions. He is an active family man who enjoys sports, adventure and traveling but understands the importance of balance. In short, a grown-up with the heart of a child.
Transition Program Graduate
Sequoia High School Class of 2015
As some of you may remember, Nick was our student honoree in 2015. Since his graduation, he has been doing a lot of great work in the community. We are honored to have him come back this year to share his growth and inspiration.
Nicholas "Nick" Jasso graduated from Sequoia High School in 2015, as a student in the Transition Program at Acknowledge Alliance. During that time, he was also able to attend a monthly day-retreat with Wildlife Associates - an animal sanctuary which brought him closer to the spirit of service. Since graduating from Sequoia High School, he has been able to become an EMT, an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps alumni, a Dean's List college student at College of San Mateo, and the President of Project Change. He spends much of his time now volunteering with organizations such as Fresh Lifelines for Youth and Youth Law Center. He hopes to transfer from community college in the fall and eventually practice law.