School: Donlon Elementary School
Background: Gates is entering her fifth year as principal at Donlon. Prior to her tenure there, she served as vice principal at Lydiksen Elementary for two years and spent one year in a dual vice principal role at Lydiksen and Hearst elementary schools. She has also taught middle and high school science. Though she was born in Oklahoma, her family moved to California when she was just one month old, and she considers herself a Californian.
Fun fact: Even though teachers abound on her family tree, Gates originally intended to go into dentistry. When she decided the dentist’s office wasn’t her goal, she began to investigate other majors and found educational law.
“I really enjoyed that and looking at how funding works for schools and how we work on equity in schools — it just really spoke to me,” Gates said. “I’m Catholic, and I definitely care about justice in the world, and I think that’s what pulled me in as a young person, just learning about the disparity in different districts and how California has set funding up to attempt to make funding more equal.”
Favorite part of the job: Gates said working with her students and families brings her the greatest joy