Skip Navigation  

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. Nominated employees will be highlighted on this page. All nominees will also be considered for formal recognition by the Superintendent and Board of Education.

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! 

Featured: Caroline Stanfield, Audiologist - Thurgood Marshall High School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for April 2017

"Caroline has been a bright light in our district for many years and is consistently going out of her way to meet the needs of students with hearing loss. She meets with each referred student, finds out about how they are doing, assists in determining the FM equipment needed to assist them in the classroom, and is down to work with each child to even determine their favorite color. She never says "no" and is always willing to go above and beyond while working with both regular education and special education children. She is responsive to each individual student's needs and is always willing to work with staff to assist them in understanding the specialized needs of students with hearing loss." - Nominated 01/2017

View Past Featured RAVE's here.

Alma Portillo, School Secretary - Junipero Serra Annex Early Education School

"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

Michael Powell, Plumber - Facilities - Special Service Award Winner for April 2017

"Mike has gone above and beyond working on the district's largest and longest running blind leak at the McAteer campus. After spending hours searching the school for visible leaks, spending many weekends overseeing professional leak detection efforts, and coordinating with bond modernization work, Mike agreed in fall to move his efforts to non school hours hours. Often working before 6 AM and once from 8PM to midnight to accommodate the school’s daily operations and SOTA’s busy event schedules, Mike’s has decreased the size of the leak by 50%, created a clear path to a final fix, and has confirmed his Dad’s hypothesis, a former SFUSD plumber, that the campus had a large leak over 20 years ago." - Nominated 02/2017

Kenneth Gonzalez, English Department Head + Teacher - Balboa High School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for March 2017

"I appreciate Ken's diplomacy, kindness, consideration, and vision. He understands that leadership requires bigger vision and he understands and seeks to understand the needs of teachers in order to best support his colleagues as department head and as a veteran teacher at our school site." - Nominated 11/2016

Dana Warnery, School Secretary - Clarendon Alternative Elementary School - Special Service Award Winner for March 2017

"Dana Warnery is quite simply the best school secretary I have ever seen. She ensures that every class is covered every day by calling substitutes late into the evening. Because of her work, teachers have all of the supplies they need in a timely manner. Parents are supported with all of the information they need about their child at school. She nurtures students through numerous bumps which come with being in elementary school. And she is a chief of morale in the school by welcoming new staff, setting up award lunches for students, and marking important events in the life of every staff person." - Nominated 11/2016

Candy Lee, Classroom Teacher - Chinese Education Center

"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

Supply Warehouse Department

"Department's responsiveness during closing and opening of schools goes over and above their call of duty.  By providing great customer service, tremendous burdens to site principals are eliminated." - Nominated 03/2017

Martha Adriasola, Teacher on Special Assignment - School Health Programs

"Martha uses data to make decisions about district-wide systems and structures to support the health and wellness of our students, pays attention to detail, and has positive relationships with everyone that she works with. She keeps students at the center of her work and works tirelessly to ensure that they receive health education in the classroom, experience health events at school, and take safe routes." - Nominated 03/2017

Michelle Low, Teacher - Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School

"She is a great 3rd grade teacher and a very important asset to RL Stevenson. She is a great team leader and always assists the principal and PTA. I'm nominating her because she's a great mentor and teacher." - Nominated 03/2017

Evelyn Cheung, Principal - Junipero Serra Elementary School

"Because Ms. Cheung puts in long hours, she is there when the staff arrives and when the staff leaves. I'm a substitute teacher and have been to about 12 different elementary schools now. Ms. Cheung has spent so much time planning that the effort pays off beautifully. This small school is undergoing construction so the playground has shrunk, the hallways have become crowded, the school has lost the library, but miraculously the test scores have improved and the morale has risen. I have never seen such a well-oiled machine that is full of energy, emotion and care at every level of every day." - Nominated 03/2017

Valerie Ziegler, Green Academy Coordinator - Abraham Lincoln High School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for February 2017

 "As coordinator of Lincoln High School's Green Academy, Ms. Ziegler is responsible for facilitating all of the school activities related to environmental issues - including our school garden program, recycling and compost training, healthy food initiatives, energy audits and proposals to cut back on energy usage in addition to many other events and activities outside of Lincoln. This includes bringing her students outside of the classroom and into the world of work - field trips in the many industries the environmental pathway could lead. She is someone that we all RAVE about!" - Nominated 05/2016

Linda Mastrangelo, Paraprofessional - Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for February 2017

"When students experience difficult emotions, Ms. Linda would spend time to help students process them. I have had students who experienced trauma such as losing family members and other personal issues. Ms. Linda would spend break time talking to the grieving or troubled students. She connected with the students by sharing about her life experiences and getting students to express themselves in healthy manners. She helped empower students with improved problem solving skills and to better understand and/or accept circumstances. On several occasions, Ms. Linda even gave students encouraging notes, books, and other tools to support children going through trauma. Students and teachers greatly appreciate her. Overall, Ms. Linda is making a huge difference in our lives." - Nominated 10/2016

Kathryn Molinaro, Teacher - Presidio Middle School

"Kathryn Molinaro is a very dedicated and hardworking teacher who teaches beyond everyone's imaginations. She treats all of her students fairly and is very patient with everyone. She also has a very humorous way of teaching things which makes it extremely easy to remember the material. A few weeks ago, she was teaching her class about how to write a good last sentence for explanitory essays. She rose one of her legs and kicked the air so fiercely, her shoe fell off! She told us that the last sentence (a kicker, as Ms. Molinaro called it) should "kick the reader out of your essay! In a nice and gentle way". Ms. Molinaro never leaves a unit unless everyone is fluent at the assigned task. With those reasons listed above, I am proud to nominate my teacher, Ms. Molinaro!" - Nominated 02/2017

Christine Spagnuolo, School Secretary - Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School

"Chris approaches her work and daily responsibilities with vigor, enthusiasm, and commitment. No task is too difficult. She recognizes the gravity of every project and completes it within the specified timeline with accuracy and success. When an unforeseen problem occurs, she accepts the challenge and works toward its resolution. Her unstinting work and positive attitude extend beyond her normal 9 hour day. It is common knowledge to all staff that Chris brings work home to finish during the evenings or weekends." - Nominated 02/2017

Jonathan Lewallen, Teacher - Presidio Middle School

"Mr. Lewallen is very nice to his students and loves his job very much. He never procrastinates and has our class doing fun projects to make sure we understand the material. He cares a lot about how his students are feeling." - Nominated 02/2017

Jennifer Comeans, TSA / Literacy Coach - Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School

"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

William Patterson, Special Education Teacher - Asawa SOTA

"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

Lauren Miller, Teacher - San Francisco Public Montessori School - Special Service RAVE Award Winner for January 2017

"Ms. Lauren has a relationship with each and every child in her class. She knows how to bring out the best in her students. Something about her makes students want to do their very best work. She encourages students in a way I haven't seen before. She helps them to see what they are capable of and she does it with such ease. She takes time to engage with each child not only with class work but on every level. She puts thought and effort into her class activities so that they cater to the particular class and not just the grade she is teaching." - Nominated 09/2016

Amy Abero, Counselor - John O'Connell High School - Special Service RAVE Award Winner for January 2017

 "I am nominating Amy Abero for going above and beyond. She is a consistent, caring adult in the lives of the O'Connell students. She has an open door policy, and greets all students with a smile. She is an amazing asset to teachers and support staff as well. I believe her organization, dedication, and positive attitude will impact SFUSD for years to come." - Nominated 05/2016

Amy Matarazzo, Physical Education Specialist - Alvarado Elementary School

"Amy's thirst for increasing the learning of students with disabilities is one of many factors that have led Amy to become such a distinguished teacher. She routinely shares her own tried and tested best practices for teaching students with disabilities during PDs and through google drive." - Nominated 01/2017

Patricia Daugherty, Special Education Department Head, Teacher, Case Manager - John O'Connell High School

"Ms. Daugherty supports me in my general education classroom. She makes me feel safe and understands my disability -- social anxiety and high-functioning autism. She helps students understand their work. She is a good teacher." - Nominated 01/2017

Roberto Hernandez, 4th + 5th Grade Teacher - Leonard Flynn Elementary School

"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

Carol Fong, Principal - Ulloa Elementary School - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for October 2016

"My daughter Joey  received an outstanding education at Ulloa Elementary School when she was there attending transitional kindergarten. Joey was unable to get back into Ulloa E.S. for kindergarten, but Principal Carol Fong encouraged me to keep trying. She also encouraged me to keep up Joey's language skills so that when Joey does get back into Ulloa E.S., she will be in line with the other students for the Chinese bi-literacy program. I did not expect her to even remember Joey's name, but she did. As a parent, it meant a lot to me that she gave me hope and treated Joey's life and education with value." - Nominated 08/2016

Terence Krista, Teacher + Librarian - Lafayette Elementary School

"Mr. Krista shows students that reading is truly one of the most fascinating thing to do. He has proven to the students, teachers, and community that the library is truly an extraordinary place to visit. Mr. Krista is the gatekeeper of information. Students look forward to walking in the library and listening to how Mr. Krista invites them along the journey when he reads books to them." - Nominated 12/2016

Chiu Mar, Carpenter - Buildings & Grounds

"I submitted a work request to build and install a bulletin board for a display in our foyer. The next day, Chiu Mar came to my site to look at the site to assess our needs. He asked me questions and worked with me on creating a board to fit my vision. He was kind and patient during this process. He measured the spot I wanted the board then made his recommendations. Within a few days, he came back with the board, installed it, and now we have a great board for our art installations!" - Nominated 12/2016

Gaela Peters, Counselor - Balboa High School

"She challenges students to be better human beings overall and does literally whatever she can, far beyond her job description, to support them in their development. She is involved with the community in many ways. She is an incredibly empowering colleague." - Nominated 12/2016

Gloria Choy, Assistant Principal - Gordon J. Lau Elementary School

 "Gloria is thoughtful, kind, easy-going, but hard- working, and tremendously dedicated to making GJL the best school possible. She has a giant heart of gold. She genuinely talks to each student and families attentively." - Nominated 12/2016

McKenna Taylor, English Teacher - Ida B. Wells High School

"McKenna is an amazing breath of fresh air who shares a classroom adjacent to my own. As I am new at this school, McKenna has been so open and warm to me as a colleague. I see the students flock to her room every day for her classes and at lunch just to talk to her and laugh with her. The students here have often been beaten down by former schools and teachers. Mckenna offers no judgement, only encouragement. She really rocks her room puts so much time into making her classes appropriate, rigorous, and meaningful." - Nominated 12/2016

ShuPing Guan, Counselor - Balboa High School

"Shu Ping truly cares about the students and challenges them to be better. She wants to support them in their journey whatever that may be and is very knowledgeable about protocols. She keeps all people involved informed of developments of each student's case." - Nominated 12/2016

Anne Martin, 1st Grade Teacher - John Muir Elementary School

"She cares deeply for her students and sets high expectations for their academic and behavioral success. She is very reflective in her practice and is constantly trying new strategies. John Muir and SFUSD is very lucky to have such a dedicated educator. She has a deep commitment to equity and utilizes many culturally responsive strategies in her classroom." - Nominated 12/2016

Dona Baybin, Benefits Analyst - Human Resources

"I am a new hire to SFUSD. My on-boarding was moving very slowly and I was not provided benefits information. Dona was not my assigned Benefits Analyst but she took the time to locate my information and thoroughly explained the process to me. Dona highlighted all my benefits and provided the enrollments forms. She made sure I had my documents to complete by retirement enrollment. She is superstar and a great asset to the SFUSD team." - Nominated 11/2016

Amelia Bjorklund, Teacher - Balboa High School

 "Amelia Bjorklund is a truly irreplaceable member of the Balboa High School community. As our Peer Resources teacher, she and her trained students have brought incredible holistic, restorative justice practices to our school such as conflict mediation, creative expression and artistic projects, peer teaching programs and more." - Nominated 11/2016

Molly Shipman, Special Education Department Head + Teacher - Balboa High School

 "Molly Shipman has embodied a real self-starter attitude in regards to making sure that all IEP accommodations are truly met so that students can learn, but also so that teachers can achieve some sense of balance and sustainability with all they are asked to hold. She focuses on solutions, not on the endless list of problems." - Nominated 11/2016

Debra Eslava-Burton, Supervisor of the PAR Program - Curriculum & Instruction

 "Debra reaches out and connects with people. She checks in on her team regularly, which makes her team feel supported and appreciated. She is dedicated, personable, and approachable. She guides with thoughtful questioning and supports her team to find their own answers. Debra takes the time to really know each person she works with and then adjusts her own leadership to match their style and needs. She always holds high expectations and provides the support (emotional, logistical, information, resources) for us to meet those expectations. She is always student and teacher centered in her leadership, and grows other leaders. She treats everyone with dignity." - Nominated 11/2016

Nadir del Toro Solis, School Secretary - Junipero Serra Annex Early Education School

 "Nadir is a shining star! She is an example of the very best in administrative support. She meets every family with a goal of equitably serving their needs . When she served as our noon monitor for several years in TK she supported every child to be self-regulating and socially successful. Our school community benefits immensely from her presence." - Nominated 11/2016

Marisa Castro, Social Studies Teacher - Balboa High School

 "Castro's dedication to the Just Fierce Alliance group created a space where LGBTQQI students could not just meet and get emotional support, but actually meet and interact with youth workers from various organizations who understand the specific concerns of LGBTQQI kids of color and undocumented queer youth." - Nominated 11/2016

Kristine Keane, Counselor - George Peabody Elementary School - Special Service RAVE Award Winner for October 2016

 "Ms. Keane goes above and beyond in enhancing the social emotional experience of students at Peabody. Her Wednesday morning skits with children about Kimochi's are favorites of many! She also runs countless events for families. She is recently tackling issues of equity and race. She is key reason for the school's rise in popularity and academic success." - Nominated 05/2016

Denise Soler, Teacher - Lowell High School - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for September 2016

 "Ms. Soler is a dedicated professional with a big heart and it is well received and appreciated. She's an advocate that makes things happen and always puts the childrens' needs first. She constantly provides and utilizes great resources to further my daughter's learning skills." - Nominated 09/2015

Research, Planning & Assessment Team - Central Office - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for May 2016

 "There is a culture within RPA that is marked by a strong equity vision, tremendous integrity and the highest degree of professionalism. Each member of the team is accessible and responsive to the myriad of requests that come across their desks each day and all members demonstrate a deep commitment to our shared work of improving the outcomes and learning experience for all students!" - Nominated 10/2015

Annette Minafo, Credential Analyst - Central Office - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for May 2016

 "Annette Minafo has been an outstanding mentor for a new employee. In addition to her immense knowledge of credentialing, she stays on top of every minute detail of her work and has developed relationships with countless site administrators and teachers. She is among the last to leave the office each day, and takes ownership of all aspects of her job." - Nominated 09/2015

Kristine Keane, Counselor - George Peabody Elemenetary School

 "Ms. Keane goes above and beyond in enhancing the social emotional experience of students at Peabody. Her Wednesday morning skits with children about Kimochi's are favorites of many! She also runs countless events for families. She is recently tackling issues of equity and race. She is key reason for the school's rise in popularity and academic success." - Nominated 05/2016

Lourdes Espejo, Offset Machine Operator - Central Office

 "Lourdes is very helpful and willing to go the extra mile to do a great job. Additionally, she's able to do compplicated tasks while maintaining a great attitude and is hard working, knowledgable, and positive." - Nominated 05/2016

Jasmine Galang, Paraprofessional - Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academic Elementary School

"When things in a classroom gets to be a challenge with a teacher or students, Jasmine will always take an optimistic approach by recognizing the difficulties and doing something about it. She never complains regardless of situation." - Nominated 05/2016

Matthew Hartford, Principal - Lakeshore Elementary School - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for April 2016

 "Lakeshore has just blossomed tremendously under his watchful eye. The teaching and office staff are warm and friendly. I have seen parents supported throughout issues that may, at times, be difficult. The campus gardens and structures have all been fixed and maintained through workdays and I have seen Mr. Hartford himself at each one. I sincerely believe that Mr. Hartford is trying his best each and every day to help Lakeshore grow to more than it's potential and become FANTASTIC!" - Nominated 2/2016

Janis Yu, Senior Clerk Typist - Chinese Immersion School at De Avila - Special Service RAVE Award Winner for April 2016

"At a Chinese Immersion School, choosing a Chinese name for an English-speaking child seems pretty complicated. How to make it sound good, mean something favorable, and have fortunate presentation in characters is key. Ms. Janis has helped to name each of my three children with beautiful characters that suit their personalities!" - Nominated 02/2016 and 03/2016, 15 nominations received

Rosemary Kamkar, Teacher - Abraham Lincoln High School - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for March 2016

 "She worked with students of every ethnicity after school each day developing performances to showcase their individual cultures and heritage. It was an incredible success and began the tradition that continues today. For the next 21 years and counting, Rosemary has been the coordinator of Lincoln's Brotherhood/Sisterhood Assembly. It is, above all else, her quiet leadership and the respect that her students and staff have for her that has made this event so successful." - Nominated 03/2015

Peter Sroka, Drama / Music Teacher - Curriculum & Instruction/ Visual and Performing Arts, plus Multiple School Sites - Special Service RAVE Award Winner for March 2016

"Mr. Peter has blown me away with his creativity and passion for teaching! He lights up so many students faces with joyful learning and singing. The songs he creates fosters learning and fun. On days when he is there I consider it a privilege to hear our students sing about finding a healthy balance in life or Chinese dynasties." - Nominated 05/2015

Staff - Chinese Immersion School at De Avila

" Results speak for themselves, and Success doesn't happen by accident. Family Engagement is strong at this school, and with a true partnership between the parent community & PTA and with the awesome SFUSD staff at the CIS site, NOTHING is beyond reach for this group. Principal Rosina Tong set the tone, the teachers are working hard to meet goals, and the PTA & Parents & families are making the most of these great opportunities, and the kids are thriving as a result." - Nominated 03/2016

Manuel Young, Band Director - Burton High School - Special Service RAVE Award Winner for February 2016

“Mr. Young organized a trip to Disneyland for the Band through the Heritage Festival program, where students got to bond and compete. The Band received a Silver Award, which means their scores are within the top 10-20% of high school bands nationally. To receive this as a first time participant at Heritage is huge.” - Nominated 05/2015

Renee Vargas, Administrative Assistant - Office of Pupil Services - Distinguished RAVE Award Winner for February 2016

“Few people work as tirelessly at Renee. She is at her desk working everyday before anyone else gets to work. She is usually the last person to leave each day, and she hardly ever takes breaks for herself, except to eat lunch. Renee does' everything she can to talk with families and translate for the team. Renee always puts families and children first in her work and it would be impossible to another person who can be any more professional.” - Nominated 04/2015

Sandra Navarro, Teacher - Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy 

"Sandra goes over and beyond the call of duty. She is always in support of the students she is assigned to support, and makes time for all others. Additionally, Sandra creates the most beautiful bulletin boards; these boards are not just visually wonderful to take in, but they are also filled with meaning. Sandra makes each student feel cared for, and she is so supportive and uplifting for parents. Sandra's support of teachers goes without question....year after year after year." - Nominated 02/2016

Lateshia Jenkins, Teacher - Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy 

"Teshia works with students as more than a paraprofessional. She helps students find their better selves within themselves. Teshia works tirelessly with students and families and creates pathways for students and families to have their voices heard." - Nominated 02/2016

George Cachianes, Teacher - Abraham Lincoln High School - Distinguished RAVE Award Winner for January 2016

“His dedication is reflected by his interactive teaching style that promotes a strong connections with his students. It is through these connections that Mr. Cachianes is able to bestow a multitude of life lessons upon his students, who take these lessons and utilize them as they transition into adulthood.” - Nominated 05/2015

Gabriel de la Cruz, Teacher - Thurgood Marshall Academic High School - Distinguished RAVE Award for October 2015

"Gabe is the perfect embodiment of a Swiss Army Knife. Not only is he clearly well-versed in his content, but he leverages his own network of community activists to make social justice as palpable as possible for his students. He is unwaveringly dedicated to building relationships both in and out of the classroom... and is relentlessly committed to putting students first and will strongly advocate for them in conversations with educators and administrators alike.” - Nominated 05/2015

Vladimir Talain, Special Education Teacher - Lowell High School

“He is sensitive to his students' needs and is always motivating them when they need encouragement. He is the best para-prof. I have worked with in 14 years as a classroom teacher.” - Nominated 01/2016

Merri Besden, Special Education Teacher - Presidio Early Education School

“Merri supports each classroom on a daily basis, providing leadership and mentoring, as well as hands on experiences with all of the students. She is a pioneer in best practices and is an incredible colleague and mentor.” - Nominated 01/2016

Carol Fong, Principal - Ulloa Elementary School - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for October 2016

 "My daughter Joey  received an outstanding education at Ulloa Elementary School when she was there attending transitional kindergarten. Joey was unable to get back into Ulloa E.S. for kindergarten, but Principal Carol Fong encouraged me to keep trying. She also encouraged me to keep up Joey's language skills so that when Joey does get back into Ulloa E.S., she will be in line with the other students for the Chinese bi-literacy program. I did not expect her to even remember Joey's name, but she did. As a parent, it meant a lot to me that she gave me hope and treated Joey's life and education with value." - Nominated 08/2016