(Note: Celebrating its Silver Anniversary, NUSD is spotlighting some of its former graduates who have achieved success in college or career, including attorney Julia Gahagan, who graduated from California State University, Sacramento, and earned her law degree at UC Davis. She is the daughter of Mike Wiley, a member of NUSD’s first Board of Trustees in 1992.
High School/Year Graduated: Natomas High School, Class of 2001
Other NUSD Schools Attended: American Lakes Elementary, Bannon Creek Elementary, and Natomas Junior High
Colleges Attended – Degrees Obtained: CSU Sacramento, bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and minor in Journalism. UC Davis, law degree
Career — Attorney
Current Job – Research attorney at the Sacramento County Superior Court. I work on civil cases, assisting judges by reviewing the court filings from the parties, attending oral argument, researching the legal issues, and drafting the court rulings.
Q: How would you complete this sentence? NUSD was good for me because …
A: “NUSD was good for me because of the GATE and AP programs. GATE prepared me for thinking creatively, and working hard, The AP program allowed me to enter college with enough units to put me a semester ahead.” (Note: AP is an acronym for Advanced Placement and GATE is short for Gifted and Talented Education.)
Q: How did an NUSD education prepare you for college or career?
A: “NUSD helped prepare me for college because the rigor of the AP classes was very similar to the difficulty of my college courses. Also, while in high school I participated in sports, student government, band, and other clubs, which taught me the importance of having a well-rounded schedule, not just focusing on career or academics.”
Q: What advice would you give to current students? Can they make it, too?
A: “I would advise current students that they should work hard in their high school classes as it will certainly prepare them for college and careers. And, don’t be afraid to try something new if you aren’t sure what you want to ‘grow up to be.’ I did not go to college thinking I wanted to be a lawyer, and now I am in a career I love with a great work/life balance.”
Q: What is your favorite memory from NUSD days?
A: “My favorite memories from NUSD days are all of the field trips we went on in elementary school. The lessons we learned really came to life when we got to actually visit Sutter’s Fort, the Capitol and Fort Ross, among others.”
Q: Future goals?
A: “My current goals are to continue to try and achieve a satisfying work/life balance. My time at NUSD taught me the importance of working hard while still enjoying your life, which is something I will always aspire to.”
NUSD’s Board-approved Vision: “All NUSD students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens”