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2016 RAVE Awards

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

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 2016am

“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