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STEM Leadership Institute Recognized with Distinguished California Education Honor

Santa Clara Unified School District and San Francisco 49ers STEM Leadership Institute was selected as one of 57 recipients of California’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award. 

The Golden Bell Awards, celebrating its 40th year, are presented by the California School Boards Association to promote excellence in public education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices. The awards reflect the depth and breadth of education programs and governance decisions supporting these programs that are necessary to address students’ changing needs.

Santa Clara Unified School District and San Francisco 49ers received their award at a well-attended reception and ceremony on Dec. 5, 2019, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. The awards ceremony was part of CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show held from Dec. 5-7 in San Diego. The conference is the premier continuing education event for California school boards and the largest education leadership conference in the state. 

Santa Clara Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Stella M. Kemp joined Board Vice President Jodi Muirhead and San Francisco 49ers Co-Chairman John York in San Diego at the CSBA Conference where they were honored with a Golden Bell Award. 

The STEM Leadership Institute provides multi-year, year-round academic support, STEAM enrichment, skills training, and leadership opportunities to students in middle and high school. Students, who are with the program for six years from seventh grade at Cabrillo Middle School to twelfth grade at Santa Clara High School, commit annually to 300-plus hours of program learning time in addition to their typical school hours. By cultivating student mastery in STEM subjects and in key skill areas, the program prepares students for college and empowers them to pursue their passion, so that they may become the well-rounded leaders of the future. 

“We are grateful for partners like the 49ers, and the 49ers Foundation, who allow us to bring innovative educational opportunities to Santa Clara Unified School District’s students,” says Superintendent Kemp. “Our school district’s mission is to prepare all students for success in this ever-changing world and the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute at Cabrillo Middle School and Santa Clara High School allows us to provide students interested in STEM careers with a rigorous program to better connect and prepare them for that future.”

A judging panel composed of experts from school districts and county offices of education across the state reviewed written entries and made initial recommendations. On-site validators then reviewed the recommendations and assessed the programs in action. This year’s Golden Bell winners demonstrated that they are addressing student needs through areas such as equity and access, school climate and safety, technology and wellness.

“Now more than ever is a time to acknowledge and celebrate innovative and impactful programs that make a difference in the lives of our young people,” said CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “This year’s Golden Bell winners truly serve as beacons of success as we work to more fully and equitably serve all of California’s public school students.”

To learn more about the Golden Bell awards and all the winners, visit the program’s website at

ella M. Kemp, Lisa Andrew, Jesse Lovejoy, Albert Gonzalez