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  • Ninja Warrior, Beastmaster, MacArthur Graduate

    Posted by Evan Henson on 6/16/2022 9:00:00 AM

    gabe smilingA few things are very important to Gabe Baker: faith, fitness, music and North East ISD.

    “I truly enjoyed my time at NEISD. I loved every teacher. I bet you there are some teachers who would probably be mad at me that I’m not remembering their names right now. But again, I have had a really great relationship with a lot of my teachers, and it was just a fun experience.”

    Gabe recently reflected on his time at NEISD.

    He started smiling.

    He then started racking his brain, trying to remember the name of every teacher he ever had—he wanted each to get credit for their impact on his life.

    “Mrs. Nunley in first grade. Mr. Newcomb played Beatles music. Coach Fuschak was a great coach….”

    Gabe attended Thousand Oaks and Redland Oaks elementary schools, Driscoll Middle School and graduated from MacArthur High School in 2010.

    He was involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), track, football, Peer Assistance Leadership and Service (PALS), National Honor Society (NHS) and orchestra.

    So, school was important to him.

    “I really did my best just to be a leader on campus—just to be a very involved student. And I had a great collection of friends. I had an experience in athletics and with just different communities of people. So, I think being in NEISD really set me up well.”   

    Since graduating in 2010, Gabe has gone nonstop.

    He is taking his experiences and passions cultivated at NEISD out into the world.

    He played football at Rice University with a team that had three bowl appearances and won a conference championship.

    Gabe in football gear

    He even considered an NFL career.

    But as he reflected on that time in his life, he couldn’t help but think about all the coaches he had at NEISD who cultivated his love of sports and fitness.

    “I’m still pretty close with and keep in touch with Coach Hines, Coach Jeffrey Hines. He was my seventh-grade science teacher. And then he was also my coach for football and track. And I think basketball for seventh and eighth grade as well. So, I spent a lot of time with Coach Hines. Great coach, great, great guy.”

    While his life took a different route than playing in the NFL, fitness is still very important to Gabe. He’s competed on the Netflix original series “The Ultimate Beastmaster” and will soon be competing for a second time on NBC’s “America Ninja Warrior.”

    gabe competing gabe on beastmaster poster

    His television credits also include “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.” It was a dating show for musicians.

    Gabe is currently pursuing a music career in Nashville, Tennessee.

    It’s a passion that took root at Redland Oaks—when he picked up a cello for the first time.

    “I started playing cello in the fourth grade, But Mr. and Mrs. Sorgi were great. I got to be with them all through middle school as well. One of my closest friends is their son Cameron. They are great family friends. Oh, and Dr. Garverick. She was my orchestra director at Mac. She was also one of my favorites.”


    As Gabe continues to think of names of teachers he had along the way, “Mr. Green was a great history teacher. Dr. Turnbo. Mr. McDaniel was an incredible teacher. Oh, my English teacher for junior year…red hair guy,” he offers this advice to current NEISD students.

    “Realize that your time in school is to learn; really make that intention to learn about yourself. The teachers you are meeting, the friends you are making, the experiences you are going through-- are forming you intentionally. So be wise with what those experiences are. And have fun. Just soak it all in, because it will go by really quickly.”

    Big or small, we’ve all got a story to tell. Click here to tell your story.

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  • Legendary horse trainer Todd Pletcher got his start at NEISD

    Posted by Lila Stanley on 6/15/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Todd Pletcher yearbook photo and racetrack photo with textMadison High School graduate Todd Pletcher is a legend around any racetrack. And he has the hardware to prove it. Horses he has trained over his hall of fame career have won everything from the Belmont Stakes to the Kentucky Derby and beyond.

    Pletcher embraced his love for horses and racing here in San Antonio and graduated from Madison in 1985. In 2018, he was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame. He’s also enshrined as a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.

    Do you know any NEISD graduates worth spotlighting? Reach out to us at neisd.net/tellyourstory.

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  • From NEISD to the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame

    Posted by Lila Stanley on 6/7/2022 7:30:00 AM

    Photos of Dr. Kelley over the years with text

    The San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame honors the trailblazing women who have made extraordinary contributions to the San Antonio Community. Churchill High School graduate, Dr. Margaret Kelley, was one of 16 women inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in March.

    Dr. Kelley has worked as an OB/GYN in San Antonio for the past 20 years. Today, she works alongside her father in his practice. Her love of learning and strong academic foundation was solidified at North East ISD. But her secret to success might lie in the variety of opportunities she pursued growing up.

    “I was part of the first group of students who were introduced to strings in the fourth and fifth grade at Windcrest Elementary. I played the cello from fourth grade all the way through middle and high school.”

    After Windcrest, Dr. Kelley spent one year at Ed White Middle School before her family moved and she enrolled in Eisenhower Middle School. She went on to graduate from Churchill in 1990.

    Some of Dr. Kelley’s fondest memories stem from her time playing cello in the orchestra. She was also a member of the Churchill JROTC program and even had the opportunity to study abroad in France thanks to Madame Anne Meyer.

    “I took three years of French in high school and it was so wonderful,” said Dr. Kelley. “It wasn’t just learning the language; it was learning history and fine arts. Madam Meyer actually arranged for some of her students to study abroad at a French boarding school so I went for five weeks between my junior and senior year in high school. That was a really incredible experience.”

    Experiences and opportunities like this opened many doors. After graduating from Churchill, Dr. Kelley went to Brown University for her undergrad and medical school. Her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology brought her back home to San Antonio, where she’s been practicing and investing in her community ever since.

    Dr. Kelley’s believes her emphasis on service and outreach stemmed from the core values her parents and this District instilled in her growing up.

    “When my parents moved to San Antonio in 1978, they chose North East ISD because it was the best district. They had strong academics, a strong fine arts program and excellent teachers. I am proud to be a product of public schools. Every child should have access to a good education and that’s the importance of supporting our school districts.”

    Dr. Kelley has accomplished much in her life. In her family, it’s a tradition. When she joined the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in March, she wasn’t the first in her family to be inducted. Her mother, Dr. Harriet Kelley, was inducted in 1997.

    Do you know any NEISD graduates worth spotlighting? Reach out to us at neisd.net/tellyourstory

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