Robla Elementary School

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Black History Month: Celebrating Robla Employees, Board Members

Join us in Celebrating Black History Month as we shine a Spotlight on our employees and board members who are of African American/Black heritage.


Michelle Crisp, Principal, Taylor Street Elementary

Michelle Crisp has been an integral part of the Robla school district for over a decade, bringing a wealth of experience and dedication to her role as Principal at Taylor Street Elementary. Starting her journey as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, Michelle has held various positions within the district, including roles as a UCD resident teacher, PLC lead teacher, TCI member, Community Resilience Ambassador, Bargaining team member, and Freedom School site coordinator/Administrator. Her journey has led her to her current position as Principal, where she continues to make a significant impact on the school community.

Why do you love your heritage? Michelle shares, "I love my heritage for so many reasons, but mainly for the sense of pride I grew up having with my culture. It's a part of who I am, and it shapes the way I view the world."

What are your favorite foods, traditions, celebrations? When it comes to food, Michelle's favorite dish is collard greens with smoked turkey. She also cherishes the traditions of her family reunions, where they gather to dance to the electric slide or cupid shuffle, creating lasting memories and connections.

What is something that you love about the Robla community? Michelle expresses her love for the strong sense of family within the Robla community. "From the first day I started in the district 11 years ago to now, I've always felt supported and welcomed. It's a community that truly cares for one another."

How do you share or celebrate your heritage at work? Celebrating her heritage at work, Michelle emphasizes the importance of being present daily and embracing her authentic self. She also enjoys the conversations sparked by her varying hairstyles, from braids to dreads and sometimes headwraps, creating opportunities for cultural exchange and connection.

Michelle Crisp's dedication to her heritage and her community shines brightly, embodying the spirit of Black History Month and inspiring those around her.

Raynell Hamilton-Starks, Trustee, Robla School District Board of Education

Meet Trustee Raynell Hamilton-Starks, who has been serving on the Robla School District Board of Education for over a year. Here's a glimpse into her profound connection with her heritage:

Why do you cherish your heritage? Embracing her Black identity, Trustee Hamilton-Starks shares her love: "I love being Black! From the resilience of my people to our creativity and ingenuity, I take pride in our impact on our country and the world."

Favorite foods, traditions, celebrations? Delight in the diversity of Trustee Hamilton-Starks's cultural experiences: "Greens and Black Eyed Peas bring me joy in the new year, while Gumbo fills me with happiness during the holidays. Red Velvet cake holds a special place in my heart on Juneteenth."

What do you love about the Robla community? With almost four decades of residency in Del Paso Heights, Trustee Hamilton-Starks treasures Robla's rich history: "I find pride and joy in the enduring legacy of Taylor Street Elementary, where I attended school. It stands strong and more beautiful than ever."

How do you celebrate her heritage in your work? At work, Trustee Hamilton-Starks brings her authentic self: "I actively participate in events to celebrate my culture and its impact on the organization where I work, fostering an inclusive environment."

Let's honor Trustee Hamilton-Starks and the vibrant tapestry of Black history! 

 Craig DeLuz, President, Robla School District Board of Education

Spotlighting Craig DeLuz, President of the Robla School District Board of Education, for Black History Month!

Meet Trustee DeLuz, who has served as President of the Robla School District Board of Education for two decades!

Why do you cherish your heritage: "I believe that pride in one's race should not merely be derived from superficial traits like skin color, but rather from the profound history, vibrant cultures, and enduring resilience of a people. As a Black individual, I take immense pride in contributing to the legacy of my ancestors, who have triumphed over numerous challenges and continue to flourish despite adversity. Our collective strength, ingenuity, and indomitable spirit are wellsprings of boundless pride, impervious to the corrosive effects of prejudice or ignorance."

What are your favorite foods, traditions, and celebrations? "Neck bones and collard greens hold a special place in my heart, not because there aren't other delectable dishes, but because none have quite matched the flavor of those my mother prepared."

What do you love about the Robla community? "We aren't just a community; we're a family—the Robla Family."

How do you express or honor your heritage in your professional endeavors? "I honor my heritage by striving to excel every day. As I build upon the foundation laid by those who came before me, I aim to provide a sturdy platform for those who will follow in my footsteps."

Ijeoma Emeh, 6th Grade Teacher, Main Avenue

Celebrating Black History Month with Ms. Emeh, a dedicated educator at Main Avenue! She brings nine years of experience in the Robla School District, all as a 6th Grade Teacher.

Why do you love your heritage?

"I love my heritage because it's apart of my identity. My mother is African American, and my father is Nigerian. My heritage is what makes me unique. Understanding where you and your ancestors come from gives you a stronger sense of self, and knowledge of your history. " 

What are your favorite foods, traditions, celebrations?

"Some of my favorite foods are gumbo, seafood salad, potato salad, Nigerian plantains, and Nigerian chin chin." 

What is something that you love about the Robla community?
"Robla celebrates the cultural diversity of it's community. We bring staff and families together through various events, including the parent empowerment dinners. We're all exposed to various cultures and get to experience and gain more knowledge of other cultures within our community." 

How do you share or celebrate your heritage at work?

"There are many ways that I share and celebrate my heritage at work. Within the classroom, we celebrate all heritages through community circles, disciplinary discussions, and project based learning." 

Let's give it up for Ms. Emeh, making history and heritage come alive in the classroom!