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Raiders Academic Honors


Nominations for the award are open to elementary, middle, and highs school principals, teachers, and students located in the Contra Costa County and Alameda County. Nominations for principals must be made by a teacher and/or school administrator. Nominations for teachers must be made by a principal or school administrator. Nominations for a student must be made by a principal, teacher, and/or school administrator. All nominations must have the name of the principal for that school to verify nominees.

Suzette Takei – Teacher – Sunol Glen School

Under Suzette's careful tutelage, the Sunol Glen students' STAR scores have risen each year in both Math and Science.  Each year she sends students to the Alameda County Science Fair and every year, 90-100 percent of the students receive some level of winning honor.

Suzette has brought a wide-array of programs, clubs, sports and opportunities for our students.  She has brought track, ASL, middle school campouts (at the school), and other enrichment opportunities.  In addition, she has spearheaded our evolving Technology Infusion for both student achievement and for the school as a whole.  For example, this summer, she worked tirelessly to create a new website that provides access to features for both parents and community members.


Isabella Soto – Student – Guy Emanuele Jr. Elementary

Isabella is a first grade student at Guy Emanuele Elementary school in Union City. A natural athlete, Isabella excels both on the field participating in softball and soccer. Though she is only 6 years old, Isabella is a volunteer at the local food bank to help those in her community who are less fortunate. When she is not doing her homework, volunteering or keeping active, Isabella enjoys singing and reading to her little brother, Angelo.  

Lindsay Simeone – Teacher – Newark Junior High; Coach – Newark Memorial

Lindsay is in her 10th year at Newark Junior High and has taught, dance, fitness, track and field and Physical Education. In addition, Lindsay has been coaching the Newark Memorial Varsity volleyball team for 9 years. One of her proudest moments as a coach was going back to back Co-Champs of the MVAL in 2012 and 2013. Her love for teaching stems from the relationships she builds with her students, getting to know them and watching them succeed over time. Her proudest moments are when her students accomplish fitness goals they have been working for over time.

Jake Burger – Student – Mt. Diablo Elementary School

A third grader, attending Mt. Diablo Elementary School, Jake is the starting quarterback on the Clayton Valley Falcons Youth Football team.  In addition to his favorite sport, football, Jake loves to swim, mountain bike, and snowboard.  For the past four years, he's competed in the NorCal Kids Triathlon.  This year, finishing in 3rd place for his age division.  He is a very focused in the classroom as well, receiving excellent reports from his teacher and consistently high marks on his report card.  He enjoys math and is currently working to master his multiplication and division facts.  He also enjoys reading Goosebumps books and recently learned how to create powerpoint presentations on the computer.   

Kelle Banks – Teacher – New Highland Academy

Kelle is in her 13th year teaching for Oakland Unified Schools. She was a founding teacher of New Highland Academy and is currently on the leadership team and has been for many years.  Kelle also piloted a program called Roots of Empathy, a social emotional program, which was featured on KTVU.  Her proudest moments as a teacher often have nothing to do with her student's academic progress but rather when her students show empathy and love for each other and are proud of who they are, where they come from, and have hope for their own future.

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