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Employee Recognition

RAVE: Recognizing All Valuable Employees

Education is a people business – we are only as strong as the people who work with our students and keep our schools and offices open and running every day. This page is an opportunity to recognize some of our many outstanding employees for their commitment to education, their skill, and/ or their willingness to go above and beyond on behalf of our students and our colleagues.

For more information about the RAVE nomination process and awards, please review the RAVE FAQ document.

Nomination Forms

You can nominate any district employee for recognition (except for yourself). Nominated and approved employees will be highlighted on this page. All approved nominees are considered for formal recognition by the Superintendent and Board of Education, as long as they continue to be active employees in good standing.

Do you know of any SFUSD employees (individuals or teams) who make a difference and are exemplary models of our core values? Click here to nominate them!


Featured Employee RAVE!


Technovation Team (Jacob Aringo and Yesenia Castro-Mitchell) - Hoover Middle School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for February 20192017-2018 Hoover Middle School Technovation Team (Yesenia Castro-Mitchell and Jacob Aringo) - Distinguished Service Award Winner for February 2019

 "A project that highlights this team’s ability to work together effectively is the Technovation class offered during advisory. Mr. Jacob Aringo and Ms. Yesenia Castro-Mitchell co-teach the class. They work with volunteers from Salesforce and a global network that connects young learners with opportunities to develop applications on a computer or tablet that will go toward solving a problemin our society or globally. Together they troubleshoot problems and come up with solutions, as well as facilitate a room full of middle school girls with the ability to create and build applications." - Nominated 04/2018

View Past Featured RAVE's here.

Elena Allen, Newcomer Math Teacher - Thurgood Marshall Academic High School

"Ms Allen goes above and beyond to engage her students in the classroom. Math is one of the most important life-long skills and she makes sure students learn in a safe and rigorous learning environment. Ms Allen is a true team player; she collaborates with colleagues and takes the time to support them. Ms Allen has a great approach with our Newcomer students, exemplifying what it means to be a warm demander. She's honest and open to providing feedback when needed in support of student learning." - Nominated 03/2019

Dante Washington, Security - Bessie Carmichael Elementary School

"Mr. Washington is an outstanding member of our school staff who maintains a sharp focus on the safety and security of our campus. He is constantly making rounds around our campus and interacting with students in a caring way. Mr. Washington is also very consistent and dependable with his stewardship of student and staff safety during the school day. Mr. Washington cultivates trusting relationships with our students, just the other day there was a student in crisis and he was able to get that student to the office for support when no one else could."   - Nominated 03/2019

Andre Williams, Paraeducator - Thurgood Marshall Academic High School

"Coach Williams is the heart and soul of our school. I cannot imagine Marshall without him there. He's the kind of person who makes you feel better about yourself just by being in his presence. No lie, when I run into him in the hallway and talk to him for just a minute or two, I walk away feeling energized and with my mood lifted. I've heard similar from other people, including my own daughter. This special man deserves to be recognized.  He is positive, playful, energetic, dedicated, wise, loyal, protective, introspective, understanding, kind...the list goes on and on." - Nominated 03/2019

Miki Fujiwara, Paraeducator - Alvarado Elementary School

"Miki is an amazing paraeducator who gives her whole self everyday she is at work. She has an energy matched like no one I've met. Adapting is something that is crucial in a Special Day Classroom and it's almost second nature for her. She thrives on a challenge and making sure the students comes first, always. Miki can read a child, adult and a room to know exactly what is needed. She see's potential in every situation, especially for all the students in the room to participate and grow. Miki is able to work with an array of different students and adults alike. This gift of compassion, empathy and dedication has allowed others to see their potential and students to thrive." - Nominated 03/2019

Judith Mahnke, Teacher - Raoul Wallenberg High School

"I work as the California admissions representative for a University in Rhode Island. One of Judith's students' was admitted to the university. This student is in the foster care system and needs extra help with the college-going process, so Judith stepped up and has advocated for the student every step of the way. She started by reaching out to me and making sure he got into our database. Then, she inquired about special scholarships and we realized he was eligible for a full-tuition scholarship. Next, she helped the student with his scholarship application and finally after the student was one of the select-few to receive the award, she spent hundreds of dollars of her own money to buy him a plane ticket so that he is able to visit campus during the admitted student day.." - Nominated 03/2019

Jennifer Kabbabe, Special Education Transition Teacher - ACCESS SFUSD: The Arc - Special Service Award Winner for February 2019

"Jen Kabbabe is the epitome of a fabulous teacher. Jen’s care for her students goes beyond the school day into helping them schedule doctor appointments and coordinate with outside agencies for support. She has a holistic approach to teaching that sees the whole student, not just the educational component. Her dedication to transitional aged youth with disabilities is apparent in everything she does." - Nominated 03/2018

Dolores Harris, Paraeducator - Phillip and Sala Burton High School

"She started this school year with a new teacher who had very little experience with special education students. She worked with the principal and assistant principal to make sure the students in her class were helped. She goes above and beyond with the students on a daily basis. She genuinely loves her students. She is a team player. She is genuine." - Nominated 02/2019

Kelly Roja, Community Resource Specialist - Aptos Middle School

"Kelly is very responsive and helpful. I appreciate her quick response and helpfulness in gathering documents for us. I needed documents from her school, not only did Kelly copy them for me, she also made sure to let me know when she's sent them. When I requested something else via email that I forgot to ask for, she again send them to me quickly and did it in such a friendly way. I appreciate that so much!" - Nominated 02/2019

Rafael Frias, Attendance Liaison - John Muir Elementary School

"Mr. Frias has built relationships with families and students alike. He will do home visits and finds out what families need to ensure that our students come to school on time. His dedication to the families and school is amazing. He is a role model and is dressed for success every day. Students and staff can depend on Mr. Frias to hold high expectations for us as he does for himself. We are so fortunate to have Mr. Frias at our school!" - Nominated 01/2018 and 4 times in 01/2019

Sohum Bhatt, Chemistry Teacher - Raoul Wallenberg High School

"Mr. Bhatt is well prepared every day to teach. He communicates clearly with parents and students using all avenues available to him. His expectations are clear and fair. He takes time to get to know his students and to encourage them to be curious, to take risks, to meet deadlines and grow. He makes himself available for tutoring many afternoons. He presents the subject matter in avariety of ways so that different types of learners have access to the information. Mr. Bhatt is an excellent listener and manages his classroom with expert calm at all times." - Nominated 12/2018 and 01/2019

Mary Fung, Project Manager - SFUSD Facilities Design & Construction - Distinguished Service Award Winner for January 2019

"Beyond being incredible at her job responsibilities, she exudes SFUSD values, and is a joy to work with. We continue to be impressed by her and admire the work that she inspires on those on her team. She is highly communicative and an operational genius. It doesn't get better than Mary Fung." - Nominated 08/2018 and 12/2018

Samantha Aguirre, Teacher - John O'Connell High School - Special Service Award Winner for January 2019

"Ms. Aguirre is probably the most tireless supporter of ALL and ANY students under her care. She is always available, approachable, caring and knowledgeable. She has the kids’ complete trust and devotion due to her authenticity as a person. She inspires students to think critically and to givetheir utmost best. Not only does she work up a storm in her classroom, but she also spends time after school and on weekends leading an athletic team to city-wide competition." - Nominated 05/2018

Jennifer Hancock, Secretary - McKinley Elementary School

"Jennifer always goes above and beyond when helping staff, students and families. Words are inadequate to express our appreciation for all that she does each week: from taking care of the sick child to making sure teachers have supplies needed to function each day to her positive attitude that infects the rest of us and can make for joyful learning." - Nominated 12/2018

Samantha Wallace, Science Paraeducator - Starr King Elementary School

"Ms. Wallace came to Starr King as an Americorps participant with Education Outside. She immediately began to work through the garden to meet the academic and socio-emotional needs of students. When her position was over, she agreed to continue on as a science paraeducator. In this position she maintains our science classroom and collaborates with teachers to implement the science curriculum. She is an integral member of our community." - Nominated 12/2018

Kay Hones, Librarian - Civic Center

"I am nominating Ms. Hones because of her tireless work with our students. Ms Hones has helped students write grants for projects that students are starting. Ms. Hones has helped students get funding for graphics printing (sweatshirts and printing mediums), a barber chair for braiding and cutting hair, couches for classrooms, etc." - Nominated 12/2018

Cohort 1 (Ana de Arce, Regina Piper) - LEAD 

"I am nominating Ana and Regina because for the very first time in my admin career, I feel extremely supportive. Meaning, I feel I have working partners who care what I am thinking/expressing. I feel that they both put much "SEL" (social emotional learning) in their communications with us administrators and it has made a HUGE positive difference in my professional life." - Nominated 12/2018

Dean Ignacio, Fingerprint Technician - Human Resources

"Dean is a shining star! He is an example of the very best in Customer Service and Support. Dean goes above and beyong with what is expected of him. He is always eager to learn and to take on more tasks as necessary. He assists our customers with detailed information and a pleasant smile. Dean is not shy to present improving modules when necessary. He is a true asset Human Resources." - Nominated 11/2018

Candy Selig, Office Manager/ Admin. Asst. - Claire Lilienthal - Scott Campus

"Candy demonstrates an exemplary work ethic with an equity mindset in all that she does. Candy manages the office and so much more. She supports students and parents throughout the day, while encouraging independence and responsibility in everyone. Candy is fair and reasonable, and she has a sense of humor. I believe that Claire Lilienthal would not be all that it is without Candy. And for that, she deserves to be recognized." - Nominated 11/2018

Ra Price, 4th Grade Teacher - Lafayette Elementary School

"Ra works tirelessly each day to educate her students. She has a keen sense of social justice and brings this lens to all of her instruction and class conversations. Ra finds opportunities for education in even the smallest of moments whether it is academic or social emotional. Ms. Price constantly strives to learn and then apply new, evidence based teaching practices. She has a creative classroom with flexible seating and her Readers and Writers Workshop practice is seemingly exemplary." - Nominated 11/2018

Tanya Sanchez-Manu, Paraprofessional - Tenderloin Community School

"Some of this employee's positive qualities that distinguish her work are the following: 1) her work ethic----she moves from room to room across grade levels which can be challenging. 2) Her initiative---She manages to keep her materials organized on her own time, and comes up with activities and daily charts for students that are beneficial to students and that also help to support the educational program that teachers and resource specialists provide to students. 3) Her attitude---she is positive, considerate and thoughtful toward students, staff and families." - Nominated 11/2018

Joel Velasquez, School Secretary - Rooftop Community School, Burnett Campus - Distinguished Service Award Winner for October 2018

"Joel performs his duties on a daily basis while wearing many hats. His regular hat, school secretary, his nursing hat, every booboo that needs a band aid or knee that needs an ice pack goes through Joel. He is also in charge of the magic thermometer that makes tummy aches and headaches incredibly disappear. He wears the hat of copy machine master, he knows all the ins and outs of our over used copy machine and can make homework of 24 pages for 32 students in the blink of an eye. He also wears the caregiver hat - often children visit the office just to get a hug from Joel. Joel Velasquez goes above and beyond what his job description reads. He truly cares about this school and the people in it." - Nominated 03/2018

James Robertson, Computer Science & Robotics Teacher - Willie L. Brown Middle School - Special Service Award Winner for October 2018

"Mr. Robertson is one of the most dedicated teachers I know. He works 70-hour weeks to make sure that his students have the tools they need to succeed and beat the challenges they might face based on the zip code where their home is. Every day he develops and teaches high-quality lessons around robotics and computer science that students can't wait to be in class for. His classroom is always open after school so there is time for students to continue the work on their robotics projects." - Nominated 02/2018

Alisa Chriss-Price, Main Office Secretary - Dr. Charles R. Drew Early Education School

"She guides our parents through the process of providing their children with a preschool education with intelligence, fairness, and kindness. Her persistence and follow-through often result in improvements in the attendance and health of our students,and an increase in the well-being of their families. She takes responsibility for the organization of our school and provides leadership when needed to ensure the education and safety of our students and staff." - Nominated 10/2018

Maria Ruiz, Main Office Secretary - The Academy - San Francisco @ McAteer

"Maria is the matriarch of our school in a lot of ways. She is a comfort for everyone and safe space for our whole community. She provides all the intangibles that make an organization better, more inclusive, and healthy!" - Nominated 10/2018

Custodial Services Team (Yinghun Chen, Yau Man Chan, Huabin Wang, Can Quan Zhou) - 1515 Quintara Therapy Unit

"When I walked in the next day(s) I was so impressed. The floors look absolutely beautiful. They even got rid of grunge that has been there for years--I don't know how they did it. They went above and beyond and even moved small file cabinets and cleaned and waxed under them. I have worked here many years and teams have come in before to wax the floors. But this job that this team did this year was EXCEPTIONAL!!!" - Nominated 10/2018

Eddie Ngo, Director of Applications - Department of Technology

"Eddie is being nominated because he is a very responsive employee in the Department of Technology. He responds quickly to email inquiries and responds with helpful information and support. When I had a tech issue that I could not figure out over email, he suggested I call him and he was immediately available to answer my call! He went above and beyond to help resolve the issue and did it with grace and clarity. Thank you!" - Nominated 10/2018

Corrina McGraw, Special Education Supervisor - Special Education Services

"My gut tells me that she's part human, part octopus. She's got her 8 hands in almost every stakeholder pot to ensure that support is given to the site, the family, and the child. She's amazingly responsive, and the seamless way she addresses an issue make her job look way easier than it is. She's incredibly smart and someone I admire tremendously.." - Nominated 10/2018

David George, Director of Risk Management - 555 Franklin Street

"Dave was so helpful when my car was hit by a tree in the District parking lot. He got a claim number, helped tape my sideview mirror so that I could get home safely!" - Nominated 10/2018

Grey Todd, Classroom Teacher - Presidio Middle School

"Grey Todd consistently goes above and beyond to build school community for students and adults. He supports everyone in the building with their tech questions, he opens the building on the weekends so that teachers can come in and work, he takes candid photos of our students every day for our daily bulletin." - Nominated 10/2018

Jeanine Kennard, Paraeducator and ASP Teacher - Bret Harte Elementary School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for September 2018

"Ms. Princess has served and supported Bret Harte Elementary for nearly twenty years and been part of the community for even longer. While newer staff complain about feeling tired and burned out, Ms. Princess shows up each day full of patience, respect, and hugs and kisses. When families are having a hard time connecting with the school, Ms. Princess gets the call. She treats Bret Harte students with the respect and dignity that all students deserve. She holds them to high expectations and empowers them as community members and scholars." - Nominated 08/2017

Tara Castro, 8th Grade ELA Teacher - A.P. Giannini Middle School - Special Service Award Winner for September 2018

"Ms. Castro is extremely humble and always strives to deepen her practice without anyneed for recognition. She is selfless and spends countless hours meeting with hercolleagues before and after school to support their growth as educators. She is tirelessin her pursuit to create deeper collaboration amongst her colleagues in support of student learning outcomes." - Nominated 01/2018

Erika Kniffel, PE Teacher - Roosevelt Middle School

"Erika is highly organized, reliable, thoughtful in her process, and always puts the students first. She is passionate about social justice and goes out of her way to create programs that include ALL students." - Nominated 09/2018

Marilyn Lee, Paraprofessional - Roosevelt Middle School

"Aside from the qualities we all like to see (prompt, organized, team player, staying positive), she goes out of her way to build relationships with ALL of our students. I have never seen someone so intentional and determined to connect with students on so many levels. The students view her as someone they can turn to for help or to talk with. That in itself says a TON about who she is." - Nominated 09/2018

Vivian Hong, Teacher - Junipero Serra Elementary School

"My son was in her first grade class several years ago. He had a very difficult school year in Kindergarten with his Kindergarten teacher and his classmates. He would come home crying and afraid to go to school almost everyday. However, when he went to 1st grade with Ms. Hong, she was able to create a loving and nurturing environment for my son. He was no longer fearful of school and actually looks forward to his school days in her class. She is truly wonderful and we are blessed that she was his teacher!" - (Nominated two times in 09/2018 and 12/2018)

Sarah Carp, Instructional Reform Facilitator - Buena Vista/Horace Mann K-8 School

"Sarah holds equity and student learning at the center of conversations, learning spaces, and problem solving. She is a life long learner who inspires those around her to continually learn and improve as professionals and as human beings. Her enthusiasm for learning in infectious. She is an artful, creative problem solver. She truly listens to people and is able to quickly assess what both adults and students want as well as what they need, even when they may be unaware of these things." - Nominated 09/2018

Alma Portillo, School Secretary - Junipero Serra Annex Early Education School - Special Service Award Winner for August 2018

"This employee goes well beyond the scope of her workload. She has a dedication to serve the needs of the children and families and support all staff in that regard. She is a model employee always positive in her attitude and willing to serve the adminsistrator with all the school's needs." - Nominated 05/2017

Dexter James, Cafeteria/Dining Staff - John O'Connell High School

"Dexter is truly dedicated to his students at O'Connell High School. There are very few staff who greet the students with such compassion and positivity. This is why I believe he deserves recognition. A little "hello" can go a long way." - Nominated 08/2018

Teanisha Hudson, Paraprofessional - Hoover Middle School

"Ms. Hudson has been a shining light at Hoover, despite instability and difficulties in the classes she has supported in the SOAR program there. Everyone I have met who works with her says amazing things about her." - Nominated 08/2018

Robert Daniels, Director - Visual & Performing Arts - Distinguished Service Award Winner for June 2018

"Rob is constantly trying to make his employees who move around a lot feel more grounded in each individual place. At the same time he has to respect the space limitations of the sites he serves. Next year he has developed a creative plan of positive, affirming site visits to see the teachers in their milieu and how VAPA, together with the teachers and principals, can fully support program, student and teacher space needs." - Nominated 06/2017

Geraldine Zanotti, Substitute Teacher - Argonne Elementary School and Other Sites

"Mrs. Zanotti has gone above and beyond what a substitute does. She has promoted the joy of learning in her students. She has challenged her students and advanced their learning. My kids didn't miss a beat when Dina would step in. She was in such high demand as a substitute at our school that we would often book her time a year in advance! She was well worth the wait, leaving your kids in excellent teaching hands." - Nominated 3 times 06/2018 and 07/2018

Amanda Vigil, Career Technical Education Instructor - Multiple Sites

"Amanda Vigil has long been one of the most intentional, emotionally-present educators I have ever had the honor of working with. She works to foster and sustain real connection between all participants. In her new role with SFUSD CTE, she supports educators in thinking about the vision for their work, holistic classroom experiences. She also pushes us to think about our whole selves, not as partitioned selves, simply as classroom educators." - Nominated 06/2018

Maureen McCarthy, Teen Clinic Staff - Balboa High School

"Maureen has long been an institution at our school. She is a loving, caring grandmother to us all - sharing her insights on teaching and pedagogy; helping students tackle serious problems and turn their lives around; showing novice teachers how to fill out CPS report; whatever it may be. She has made a difference in all of our lives. We would truly not be the same school community without her." - Nominated 06/2018

Jonathan Lee, Math Teacher & Girls' Basketball Coach - Balboa High School

"Jonny brings so much light into the lives of young people. He is also very intentional in how consistently he shows up for them - as a teacher, as a coach, as a disciplinarian who holds high standards for all students, and as an ally." - Nominated 06/2018

PreK Team (Ms. Keener, Ms. Marilyn, Ms. Natalie, Ms. Michelle, Ms. Jimmie, Mr. Hangsan, Ms. D, Ms. Sandra) - S.F. Public Montessori Elementary School

"They are extremely wonderful education professionals. They understand the whole child. They strive to help parents and students whenever they see the need. They are proactive and display positivism day in and day out. They are kind, helpful and open to suggestions. They take action when they see something." - Nominated 06/2018

Clarissa Maliga, Math & Special Education Teacher - Balboa High School

"Clarissa Maliga has been an incredible member of this staff. She has been insightful at professional development sessions and critical of the inner workings of racism amongst staff. She has been an outspoken advocate for our most policed and yet unseen and stereotyped students. She is a math teacher, a case manager for special education students, and also leads many site-based initiatives, such as our Polynesian Club, which within itself has done so much for school-family relationships, students' academic self-esteem, and beyond." - Nominated 06/2018

Sabrina Belara, Special Education Teacher - Balboa High School

"Sabrina Belara is a new addition to our faculty through the new Pathways program to help fast-track special education educators into being full-time, certificated educators within SFUSD. Sabrina has truly been an asset to our school team in her personal 1-on-1 coaching of bilingual students who seek input and support, constantly communicating with her students' parents, and always ready to learn and challenge herself to be the best and most organized case manager that she can be." - Nominated 06/2018

Seema Kalra, RSP Teacher - Alvarado Elementary School

"Seema is a dedicated, compassionate educator who cares deeply about her students and strives to help them overcome learning challenges to be the best they can be. Seema makes learning fun for her students. To help them memorize multiplication tables, she taught them catchy little songs. The students walk around singing them - and they now know their multiplication facts!" - Nominated 06/2018

Special Education Team (Erin Hartfield, Travis Porter, Buckley Rosato, Sophie Iribarren, Cole Manieri, Michelle Wong, Sara Mayerson, Yehudit (Malka) Serrano-Falcon) - Aptos Middle School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for May 2018

"I have the distinct pleasure of working with some of the best and MOST dedicated special education teachers that SFUSD has! They truly care about their students, by going above and beyond their duties. Many are here early and many stay late to support students by working with them, or consulting with general education teachers to figure out modifications and accommodations that are most appropriate." - Nominated 12/2017

Tammy Yan, Resource Specialist Program Teacher - Gordon J. Lau Elementary School - Special Service Award Winner for May 2018

"A positive quality that makes [Tammy] exceptional as an RSP teacher is her kindness towards our students, even when some behave aggressively towards her. She is calm and supportive, especially when students are challenging and don’t listen. She is respectful and will never discuss issues or concerns about any student or staff members with others. As a staff member, she is hardworking, thoughtful, efficient, funny and uplifting when morale is low. She is truly a role model for staff and students, alike." - Nominated 01/2018

Adriana Vargas, Enrollment Counselor - Early Education Enrollment

"Tengo un niño de 4 años que necesitaba inscribirlo al Cesar Chávez y ella me hizo el proceso más fácil. Ella ha sido paciente conmigo que no se como hacer estos procesos y no soy buena con la computadora y los papeles y tampoco hablo inglés. Adriana es muy agradable y siempre está contenta ydispuesta a ayudar a los padres. Tiene una actitud positiva y contagiante, es hasta chistosa." "I have a 4 year old who needed to register at Cesar Chavez and she made me the process much easier. She has been patient with my lack of understanding about these processes and with my computer and English skills. Adriana is very friendly and always happy and willing to help parents. She has a positive and contagious attitude and is even funny. - Nominated 3 times 05/2018, nominated 1 time 10/2018

Richard Curci, Assistant Superintendent - Leadership, Equity, Achievement and Design

"The man radiates love, positivity, and compassion. He is one of a kind, and the person who makes your worst day turn into your best day, because he'll listen to you, he'll help you reflect, and he'll be ever present. His positive energy, belief in others to a fault, and enduring empathy for others makes him outstandingly supportive." - Nominated 05/2018

Mike Brown, Assistant Principal - Bessie Carmichael K-8 School

"The positive qualities that distinguish Mike Brown's work include: (1) a commitment to instructional leadership and student achievement, particularly for English language learners; (2) perseverance when working in different capacities, and within a culturally and linguistically diverse school community; and (3) the ability to build and maintain relationships with students, families, community partners, and teachers by listening and responding in a timely and appropriate manner, to questions and concerns." - Nominated 05/2018

Budget & Accounting Teams - Business Services Division

"I've been the clerk at an elementary school for the past three years and it seems like this year the Accounting and Budget departments are stepping up their game in responding to our requests. What used to take days or weeks now takes hours or days. That means that we don't have to keep checking over and over again to see if requests have been actioned/ approved, and can quickly move on to the next step in a contract/k-reso process, purchase order or invoice payment. It may not seem like much, but it's had a noticeable impact on my job here in an elementary school office. Thank you." - Nominated 05/2018

Mary Weese, Assistant Principal - Willie L. Brown, Jr. Middle School

"Ms. Weese demonstrates strong leadership skills and capacity, working tirelessly to promote equitable learning environments on our campus by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture that accelerates student learning. Her knowledge of curriculum and instruction is unsurpassed, especially as it relates to implementing Project Based Learning, and she is committed to closing the achievement gap through proven educational research initiatives and data-based decision making." - Nominated 05/2018

Sara Saldaña, Site Director, NT3 & Program Coordinator, SFUSD National Board Support Program - Office of Professional Learning & Leadership, Curriculum & Instruction

"I am nominating Sara Saldaña for a RAVE award, because she has single-handedly increased the number of National Board Certified Teachers in SFUSD, and created an in-house support program to keep increasing the number of accomplished teachers within our district. She sees the strengths in a wide range of educators, and brings them together to increase teacher leadership, and student learning. Sara is incredibly nurturing and supportive as a mentor. She has amazing dedication to the improvement of our profession, to the benefit of all." - Nominated 05/2018

Steve Laliberte, RSP Teacher - S.F. Public Montessori School

"He is encouraging and supportive and my son says he likes working with Mr. Laliberte because he likes the way he explains things to him in a way that can understand. He takes things my son is interested in and incorporates them into his work. My son knew there was an award that teachers can be nominated for and he came to me and asked me 'if we could nominate Mr. Laliberte for an award because he definitely deserves one.' Those were my son’s exact words." - Nominated 05/2018

Jennifer Comeans, TSA / Literacy Coach - Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for April 2018

"In the past 24 hours, Jennifer spearheaded our annual Literacy Night, participated in Instructional Rounds, and facilitated PD for our staff. For Literacy Night, she recruited teachers to volunteer, found most of the activities for each teacher to lead, made copies and collected materials for the evening. The event was well organized and well attended with happy children and families. Then this morning she participated in instructional rounds at our site: observing teachers and students and debriefing with a group of principals. This afternoon, she led our staff through a writing pd that introduced them to a new resource, honed their skills in looking at student work, and provided planning time. These events were heavy lifts and Jennifer takes them with stride: always being professional, modeling leadership, and being a support to both adults and students." - Nominated 02/2017

Rachael Spillard, Science Teacher and Department Chair - George Washington High School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for April 2018

"Rachael is not only a dynamic and dedicated classroom teacher, she is also our department chair who goes above and beyond to support us in our work as teachers. Whether it's taking care of the budget, organizing haz-mat pick ups, or advocating for science with administration, Rachael takes care of the details of running the department so we can focus on our classrooms. On top of that, she is highly involved with activities on campus from social committee to robotics club - Rachael really does it all!" - Nominated 05/2017

Asya Landa, Chemistry Teacher - Abraham Lincoln High School

"The student feedback: The latest came from Pamela Aamechi, who graduated last year and is currently at Princeton with a GPA of 3.33 and who wanted to specifically thank Ms. Landa. Last year when Pamela was on the SSC she raved about Ms. Landa's grading,the fairness and Ms. Landa's ability to explain this. This is not the first time. Several years ago a Spanish speaking Newcomer student (currently a graduate of San Jose State) gave us feedback on how she encouraged, and at the same time held high expectations. At one time he wanted to switch to an easier major and he remembered Ms. Landa and he did graduate with his engineering degree." - Nominated 04/2018

Adelina Duncan, Family Liaison - Mission Education Center

"Adelina Duncan is helping some of San Francisco's most vulnerable inhabitants, young new immigrants, plan and save for a positive future that includes a college education. She supports families across all grade levels and organizes events for both parents and students to engage them with saving for college. She works with teachers to arrange field trips and coordinates with K2C staff and community partners to make sure students at Mission Education Center receive the resources and support to make these field trips successful. Ms. Duncan is bright, warm, and friendly and truly cares about the futures of families who go through her school." - Nominated 04/2018

Melinda Carpenter, Kindergarten Teacher - Visitacion Valley Elementary School

"Melinda Carpenter is championing college saving and a college-going culture at Visitacion Valley Elementary, not just for her classroom but for the entire school. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is serving as a Kindergarten to College (K2C) School Ambassador, volunteering her time and talents to help engage families and students in planning for college and career from Kindergarten on. Under Ms. Carpenters supervision, guidance, and coordination, Visitacion Valley's "Saver Rate" [grew] from 9.5% to over 50% in a single day." - Nominated 04/2018

Xiu-Qiong (Joan) Cai, Cafeteria Staff - Junipero Serra Elementary School/ Student Nutrition Services

"Joan goes above and beyond every day to serve our students. Our breakfast and lunch periods are always orderly, neat, and easy for students to navigate independently. When applicable, she cuts fruit to make it easy and more appealing for students and assists us with making sure every child has breakfast, even when he or she arrives after breakfast is over. Joan is a huge support with field trip lunches, assisting teachers with getting their requests in on time and helping organize the lunches for easy transport. She always has a smile and a kind word for staff and students." - Nominated 04/2018

Alice Lin-Tay, School Secretary - Tenderloin Community School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for March 2018

"Some of the positive qualities that distinguish Alice's work are her kindness, thoughtfulness, consideration of others, and 'can do' attitude. Alice treats all families, students, and staff with respect. As busy as she is, she takes the time to do nice things for others. On the Friday before school started, when teachers were busily setting up their classrooms, Alice made an announcement that there was food in the staff lounge if anyone was interested. Tenderloin serves vulnerable families, and takes the time to support and assist them." - Nominated 08/2017

Candy Lee, Classroom Teacher - Chinese Education Center - Special Service Award Winner for March 2018

"Candy Lee is an outstanding classroom teacher and teacher leader at CEC. Another distinction is that she has come full-circle in her career because she attended the Chinese Education Center as a student when she first entered the United States as a newcomer herself. Recently, Ms. Lee was selected to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Taiwan next year. Amidst our country's current political state of literally and figuratively building walls, Ms. Lee will be actively building a bridge when she begins her work as a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan. All of us in the CEC school community stand so deeply proud of her accomplishments as a teacher, a teacher leader, and now, as a Fulbright Scholar. " - Nominated 03/2017

Darya Soofi, Conservation Manager - Sustainability Office

"The Earth Day Every Day Challenge is successful in huge part because of Darya. Every day in the office she is looking for ways to make this program fun and educational for our students. I look forward to checking the leader board just to see where my schools are on the board. Earth Day Every Day is so much fun and easy to participate and Darya makes that happen. She does this job with a smile on her face always. I know this program will be a huge success in large part due to her and her love for our EARTH!" - Nominated 03/2018

David Lanham, Operations Manager - Department of Technology

"David manages the "loaner carts" of computers that schools use for state "Smarter Balanced" testing - he keeps track of and maintains the carts and devices, delivering heavy carts on a very tight schedule, and makes the state testing go much smoother for all SFUSD schools. It would be hard to accomplish Smarter Balanced testing in SFUSD without his work. [He is] very positive and helpful, extremely reliable and dependable." - Nominated 03/2018

Geraldine Frye, Teacher - Ulloa Elementary School

"Ms. Frye was my son's third grade teacher and she is the quintessential hidden gem at Ulloa. Her teaching style was creative, considering that the kids were going through Common Core and the subject matter was challenging. She made sure to treat the students as individuals and catered towards their specific needs in the classroom. Ms. Frye pointed out exactly what aspects of my son were his assets and where he needed improvement. She was patient and considerate toward all kids and made sure to include fun activities along with serious learning experiences." - Nominated 03/2018

Nikhil Laud, Social Studies Teacher/ Social Studies Department Head - Balboa High School

"Nikhil truly brings his full self into his teaching, whether in the form of theatrical production, detailed emotionally-motivating lectures and direct instruction, or check-ins with students. A visit to Nikhil Laud's class is an exciting one. You can see him in historic era costume facilitating evidence-based debates on big philosophical and moral questions, where students take on the concerns of a particular group impacted by a historical event." - Nominated 03/2018

Christine Dreith, Teacher - Miraloma Elementary School

"Christine is a wonderful teacher. Christine started at Miraloma as a paraprofessional. She is now a teacher for grades 3-5 SDC in SY 2017-18. Most of Christine's students are autistic. When I pass by her classroom, I see students who are engaged and learning. The paraprofessionals are helping students learn -- everyone is focused and on task. Even when a student is having a frustrating setback -- which happens every day -- she is able to get them back on track. She keeps her cool, and her calm voice and manner sets the tone to assure all the kids that her classroom is a safe place." - Nominated 03/2018

Lamar Williams, Security Aide (T10) - The Academy/ Ruth Asawa School of the Arts

"This employee turned a very dangerous situation into a positive outcome without the loss of life or great injury to others. SFPD credits the heroic actions of Lamar to keeping this situation contained and without escalating it. Lamar builds great relationships with students, which makes actions like this possible. The student trusted in Lamar, leading to surrender without incident." - Nominated 03/2018

Nercy Arias, RSP Teacher Mild/ Moderate - John Muir Elementary School

"Nercy is a virtuoso at all elements of teaching -- she projects calm, compassion and skill, whether helping a kindergartener through a tantrum, or helping a young adult through early literacy. She is relentlessly positive and resilient with her colleagues, and sets a tone of camaraderie and shared purpose. She is an encyclopedia of SPED knowledge matched only by the "Resources" section of SEIS." - Nominated 03/2018

Career Technical Education (Esther Flores, Rubie Macaraeg, Emily Van Dyke, Erik Rice) - Curriculum & Instruction/ College & Career Readiness

"[The CTE team] has been extremely supportive, open to growth, and they have worked hard to support teachers in CTE particularly the Educator Pathway. I would not have been able to do half of the work that I have done had it not been for the support of the people on this team." - Nominated 03/2018

Pre-K Team (Danielle Lurie, Haiyang Yu, Ana Roblero, Monica Mendoza) - Rooftop Community School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for February 2018

"As the parent of a child with an IEP, I cannot emphasize enough how valuable and reassuring this sense of being involved on a daily basis in my child’s education is. The Rooftop preschool teachers have always been open to my suggestions regarding my child’s education and have shown a flexibility regarding my child’s varying support needs that allows them to adjust their approach from day-to-day. Both teachers have always been responsive to email questions and suggestions and have made themselves available for short meetings outside of school time. " - Nominated 2 times 05/2017

William Patterson, Special Education Teacher - Ruth Asawa School of the Arts - Special Service Award Winner for February 2018

"Will is consistently advocating and planning for our students. He is proactive about keeping his students engaged in their classes and working with teachers to find ways to better support his students. His discussions in IEP meetings are never just about getting the student through the individual issues they might be facing at that moment, but always looking to prepare them for a fulfilling life after they leave SOTA." - Nominated 02/2017

Josie Varona, Literacy Coach - E.R. Taylor Elementary School

"Josie came to ER Taylor to work with students and teachers supporting the Comprehensive Approach to Literacy. She has seamlessly developed working groups for our neediest readers, long-term ELs and newcomers, all while coaching and supporting teachers. She has a no-nonsense approach to all work, and behaviors that come her way. Additionally, she is flexible and willing to try new things (e.g., 10-minute 1:1 with challenging students, alternative seating, etc.) to support growth for all. Above all, she is knowledgeable, approachable and fun to work with." - Nominated 02/2018

Yunsi (Cecilia) Li, Family Liaison - Chinese Education Center

"CEC is a one-year school. Each year new families go into CEC. Compared to other schools, there is no continuity of the SSC or ELAC, as parents are all switched to new schools at the end of the year. Therefore, the family engagement every year is anew start. This challenge is different from other schools, but Cecilia takes on this challenge every year, and does a fabulous job engaging parents at the school and having them as partners." - Nominated 02/2018

Cynthia Vaughn, 1st Grade Teacher - Rooftop Community School

"Throughout all my schooling (including grad school), and my children's education both at Rooftop and local private schools, I have never seen a teacher who is so perfectly suited for what she is doing, and who is like a maestro with her students. Over the several times I have been in Ms. Vaughn's class, I was amazed not simply with her deep and sincere love for the children, which a lot of teachers have, but more so with how she conducted her class like a symphony. She had the right tone, the temperament and the right cadence. She split her teaching time brilliantly into equal doses of leaning, limits and laughter. The children all learned, laughed and loved her - and so did we." - Nominated 02/2018, 3/2018, and 11/2018)

Sue Mocklin, Middle School Teacher - Rooftop Community School

"She is a great teacher/person and I get a vibe that she really cares. [She is] great with parent student communication." - Nominated 02/2018

Julia Smith, 1st Grade Teacher - Rooftop Community School

"I have never seen a person so genuinely dedicated to the success of each one of her kids in her classrooms. She is constantly going above and beyond in so many ways. She connects with students in her classroom immensely, handing out hand written notes everyday to kids with a quick “pick me up” which one parent said 'goes right above their bed and stays there for them to see everyday.' Julia is an inspiration to me and all at Rooftop!" - Nominated 02/2018 and 12/2017

Multilingual Pathways Department - Curriculum & Instruction

"We have been impressed with this team for their responsive, caring attitude and willingness to go the extra mile. They are a very dedicated staff that does a lot with relatively few people." - Nominated 02/2018

Ryan Swick, Kindergarten Teacher - Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy

"Our daughter has thrived in Mr. Swick's classroom. She is excited to be at school, she's excited to learn, and she brings home ideas, concepts, and vocabulary that I never would have expected from Kindergarten. Mr. Swick is approachable, fun, and exceptionally hard-working. We as parents, and as a school community, are fortunate to have him in our lives!" - Nominated 02/2018

Roberto Hernandez, 4th + 5th Grade Teacher - Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School - Special Service Award Winner for January 2018

"He teaches them to be excellent learners and also to be thoughtful young people committed to social justice. He does this by motivating each student by his own deep enthusiasm for learning and for doing what is right. My daughter once told me "Mr. H. doesn't treat us like little children. He respects us and that makes us want to do even better". - Nominated 01/2017

Tara Castro, 8th Grade ELA Teacher - A.P. Giannini Middle School - Special Service Award Winner for September 2018

"Ms. Castro is extremely humble and always strives to deepen her practice without anyneed for recognition. She is selfless and spends countless hours meeting with hercolleagues before and after school to support their growth as educators. She is tirelessin her pursuit to create deeper collaboration amongst her colleagues in support ofstudent learning outcomes." - Nominated 01/2018

Christina Huizar, TSA Literacy Coach/ Literacy Intervention Specialist - Tenderloin Community School

"Christina has a positive attitude, remains cool, calm and collected in the fact of challenges, and is passionate about sharing her love of literacy with others. She is student-focused, collaborative, and is incredibly kind and generous in sharing her time and talents with others. Christina's actions and words demonstrate her commitment to social justice and equity." - Nominated 01/2018

Shellie Wiener, Secretary - Alamo Elementary School

Shellie is "an over-achiever in all she does. [She] makes sure all decisions are only in the best interest of the school's parents and students. She multi-tasks and gets it all done!" - Nominated 01/2018