Gilroy Early College Academy

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Dr. TJ Owens
Gilroy Early College Academy
Gavilan College campus in autumn
Gilroy,  California
 United States
Type Public, early college
Motto Be someone. Go somewhere. Seek Excellence.
Established 2007
School district Gilroy Unified School District
Oversight Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools
Superintendent Deborah Flores
Principal Sonia Flores
Staff 13 (2012-2013)[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 236 (2013-2014)[2]
Color(s)          Red and Black
Mascot Griffon

Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (known as GECA) is an early college high school located in Gilroy, California, at the southern edge of Silicon Valley. Founded with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GECA ranks among the top 10 high schools in California and consistently ranks as one of the best high schools in the United States.


GECA was founded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is now solely funded by the California Department of Education.[3]

Dr. T.J. Owens, GECA's namesake, was the former Dean of Students at Gavilan College and president of the Gilroy Unified School Board.[4] A prominent member of the national organization 100 Black Men of America and civil rights activist, Dr. Owens was a key figure in GECA's inception, but died two years before the early college academy was established.[5]


Approximately 90 percent of the class of 2011 graduated and entered a four-year university or continued their education at Gavilan with the intention to transfer to one.[3]

The school's non-weighted average API from 2011-2013 is 929 schoolwide, 900 for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, and 869 for English learners.[6] Statewide, students of all groups average 790, socioeconomically disadvantaged students 742, and English learners 717.[7]

GECA is one of ten schools participating in A Study of American Public High Schools with Academically-Competitive Admissions sponsored by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.[3][8]


The school was ranked 10th best in California and 54th best in the United States on the 2015 U.S. News & World Report rankings.[9]

GECA is the best performing of the 28 early college high schools in California.[3]

GECA is one of 40 Beat the Odds Schools in a study conducted by WestEd, which identified 40 schools that consistently and significantly outperforming schools with similar demographics on the California Standards Tests and the California Academic High School Exit Exam.[10]


GECA was awarded the California Distinguished Schools Award in 2013,[11]

GECA was awarded the California Gold Ribbon Award in 2015.



  • 236 students: 114 Male (48.3%), 122 Female (51.7%)
Asian White Hispanic Two or More Races African American Filipino Pacific Islander American Indian Not Reported
49 79 99 4 1 3 0 1 0
20.8% 33.5% 41.9% 1.7% 0.4% 1.3% 0% 0.4% 0%

Student life[edit]

Student Government

GECA ASB organizes events to foster school spirit and assists students in setting up clubs.[12] Tribunal is the judicial branch of student government and addresses honor code violations such as bullying, cheating, and other behavioral issues.[13]


Chicken Scratch (which has since disbanded as of 2016) GECA's writing club, has created a full-length theatrical production which was later performed in the Gavilan theater. Other groups include the gay-straight alliance, FLC club, film club, [12] CSF (California Scholarship Federation), Robotics, and TEDx GECA. [12]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°58′25″N 121°34′07″W / 36.9737°N 121.5686°W / 36.9737; -121.5686