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.
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.
Nominate SFUSD employees (individuals and teams) who make a difference.
Featured Employee RAVE!
Featured: 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
View Past Featured RAVE's here.
Annette Minafo, Credential Analyst - Human Resources - Distinguished Service RAVE Award Winner for May 2016
"Annette is trusted by all members of the team to answer questions, big and small, related to her field. She never turns coworkers away, and enables all to do their job more effectively and efficiently. Annette is trusted by all members of the team to answer questions, big and small, related to her field. She never turns coworkers away, and enables all to do their job more effectively and efficiently." - Nominated 09/2015
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