Gabriel has worked on reforestation efforts in South Africa and Australia, helped build a free medical clinic and school for poor villagers of rural India, volunteered his time as a naturopathic medical practitioner in Mexico, and created a higher education scholarship fund for an orphanage in India. He now is community director/liaison for the Romero Institute and the Lakota People’s Law Project, and also directs the Santa Madre Center in Santa Cruz, where youth come for camping, horseback riding, and organic farming.
Kermit is a transit planning supervisor and former Employee of the Year for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). He is also an ultramarathon runner and a team captain for the 500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon team. Many Sunrise students have participated in the team training runs, and he is passionate about helping the students believe in themselves and search for greatness. His greatest satisfaction comes from being a mentor to young people.Kermit was recently honored for his nomination for a youth service award from Project Cornerstone./p>
Marilyn is an energy healer, massage therapist and artist. She is a product of alternative education. She likes to help youth and volunteers as a part-time art instructor at Sunrise Middle.
Ms. Gonzalez is the parent representative on the Sunrise School Board. She is a graduate of Alum Rock School District and East Side Union High School District. She was graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business in Latin America, and also has an Accountancy degree from the University of Phoenix. “I know from first-hand experience what an immigrant feels like,” she says. “To learn a whole new language, culture, and live within two worlds – the one you live at home as Mexican and the one you live when you walk outside your home, the American dream.” Ms. Gonzalez has worked for construction companies and for a credit union. Her son Adonis is a student at Sunrise. Her husband passed away in 2009. She partnered with two engineers to start Cazadoro Construction in 2014 and has been involved with that firm ever since.
Lex became aware of the importance of providing alternatives to youth when he was not “fitting inside the box” and succeeding in high school. He found success at Pegasus High School and now is an artist and musician. He is passionate about finding new educational alternatives for youth.
Dr. David Johnson
David Johnson is a social psychologist who holds a Ph.D. from Stanford. His research had to do with how girls and members of minority groups are affected in their academic performance by adverse factors not under their control. He served as chief of staff to Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally (D-CA) for six years and worked on public policy in science and education. During his time on Capitol Hill, he was responsible for developing the legislation that paid reparations to Japanese Americans and Aleutian Islanders for their time in concentration camps during World War II, for revisions to the Higher Education Act that defined minority-serving institutions in a way that provided funds to colleges in the West and Southwest serving large number of Latino students, and for working with other legislative aides to allow previously classified satellite photos to be made available to the public, a change that eventually led to public access to satellite imagery. He went on to direct for 14 years a nonprofit called the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences which represented the public policy interests of 20 scientific societies and 150 graduate departments of psychology, cognitive science and education. While director, he was one of a group of scientists and educators asked by President Clinton and Vice President Gore to develop their administration’s policy on the use of scientific research to enhance economic development. He returned to the Bay Area in 2003 to become development director for science initiatives at National Hispanic University. While there, he founded and chaired the Department of Mathematics, Science and Computer Science. In retirement, he writes grants for several nonprofit organizations including Sunrise. He also manages Sunrise’s academic performance assessment called Measures of Academic Progress.
Tomas San Juan
Tomas is a graduate of Sunrise Middle School and is now attending the prestigious Eastside College Preparatory School in Palo Alto, where he lives on campus during the week. His hobbies are running, working out, and boxing. He has run a number of marathons on trails in nature. “Every time I get to see beautiful animals and amazing wildlife,” he says. Tomas also enjoys researching different cultures: “I like to connect to my culture and understand the life of my ancestors.” Tomas hopes to become an FBI agent or a DEA agent: “Ever since I was six or seven I knew that I wanted to help others and protect others.”