2021 RAVE Winners

RAVE Winners 2021

Marilyn Dunn, Secretary, SF Public Montessori School - Distinguished Service Award for August 2021

"Marilyn is an exceptional secretary for our Pre K-5 site. She always puts families first and is welcoming to all families. She makes sure they have what they need to be successful. It is a scary time for new families, especially Pre-K families, but Marlyn puts them at ease with her wit and funny sense of humor. Families love Marilyn. She has an answer to every question and if she doesn't have the answer, she finds it for them. During the pandemic, she never stopped or slowed down. She checked out laptops, answered phone calls, delivered supplies to families if needed, assisted with the family wellness checks, made calls to remind families to complete a survey that we wanted feedback around. Before the pandemic hit, she got training around SPIRE reading intervention so that she was able to work with a small group of students in K/1 to improve their reading skills!."-Nominated 05/2021.

Nicole Phillips, Teacher, Glen Park Elementary School - Special Service Award for August 2021

"Ms. Phillips is amazing and has greatly exceeded my expectations (as a parent of a first-grader) about distance learning. She is a master of her craft. She has so many strategies for engaging students via Zoom- constantly making it very clear what she expects them to do, ways for them to physically show that they are engaged, and offering positive re-enforcement. She has high expectations and provides lots of support- in her instruction, assignments, and feedback. She provides video feedback on assignments that is supportive while pushing students to do more. I am constantly impressed by Ms. Phillips and feel lucky that our child has her as a teacher."-Nominated 9/2020 and 10/2020.

Raquel Wells, Kashina Turner Pierce, Stephen Kesel, and Christina Wong, Student and Family Resource Link Admin Team, Central Office - Special Service Award and Distinguished Service Award Winners for May 2021

"This team responded to a very dire and urgent need to support and serve families at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They built a team, configured a system, and launched a public-facing tool serving hundreds of families each and every day from essentially nothing. Because of their efforts, we now have the seed of a system that not only is responsive to needs, but we also have a broader group of stakeholders in SFUSD who have seen what it looks like to collaborate across departments and teams, to pull together, and to learn completely new tools and systems. They stepped into a completely unknown area and were relentless in getting it moving. They created trust and connections with other teams and departments to create a common language, standards, and a system - necessary to deliver this service. They have tirelessly worked to maintain this system in addition to their regular duties."-Nominated 1/2021

Cynthia Vaughn, Teacher, Rooftop Community School- Distinguished Service Award for May 2021

"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 learning, limits, and laughter. The children all learned, laughed, and loved her - and so did we." - Nominated 02/2018, 3/2018, and 11/2018

Amy Whitcomb, Teacher, Sunnyside Elementary School- Distinguished Service Award for April 2021

"She is an amazing teacher who inspires her students to be excited about learning every day. She connects to her students on their individual levels and needs. During the Shelter in Place she was there from day one; supporting and encouraging her students and their families to adjust to Distance Learning and the radical shift in our lives. Her work ethic, enthusiasm for learning, and her passion for teaching are some of the many qualities that I admire. She is committed to every student’s academic and emotional well-being. She is just a great teacher and has a unique ability to connect every situation to a teachable moment. She has been extraordinary! I am so incredibly grateful that she is my son’s teacher."-Nominated 5/2020

Pirette McKamey, Principal, Mission High School - Distinguished Service Award for April 2021

"Pirette is an exceptional employee and educator that has served in SFUSD as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She has been a leader in the anti-racist teaching at Mission high school in all three of those roles. In the Summer of 2020, as the nation was in agony over the incidents of racism in our country, Ms. McKamey brought comfort to people across the nation by talking about her work on NPR and writing about her work in The Atlantic. 'To be an anti-racist educator means I commit to educating all of the students sitting in front of me, including Black and Latinx students,' - Pirette McKamey, Leader, student-centered, fearless, social justice leader, equity centered." Two of her published articles are, Veteran Educator On The Endless But 'Joyful' Work Of Creating Anti-Racist Education and What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently-Nominated 7/2020

EK Keith, Librarian, Phillip and Sala Burton High School - Special Service Award for March 2021

"E.K. exemplifies what it means to be a teacher-librarian. Since she arrived she has been working with classroom teachers in order to help deliver the student-centered learning that every student she be exposed to. She has helped students write grants for projects, helped and encouraged students to create winning books for the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Project, facilitate several student clubs and much more. She is a strong communicator but always respectful not only to staff but especially to the students. Her support in her many collaborations helps to distinguish not only her work but every one that is impacted by these projects. "-Nominated 2/2020

Sarah Tiu, Operations Manager, Early Education - Distinguished Service Award for March 2021

"Sarah is a go-to for so many things and so many people not only in the Early Education Department but all schools and programs that operate a PreK and/or OST.  If you need help getting into the PreK CATS database if you need to get phone hookups if you need to pull up staff ID numbers, take measurements for office furniture, update the website, set up chairs for training, etc, Sarah can help you with it all.  She is generous with her knowledge, skills, and resources to help folks move through operational challenges that get in the way of supporting students and families.Sarah has a long history in this department...she has historical information which helps with every changing staff--and she takes the time to keep herself updated on all policies procedures,-as well as DoT tech resources so that she can be helpful to EED site and central office staff. Proactive and Systemic: Sarah is always thinking of ways to improve protocols." - Nominated 09/2019

Jessica Thompson and Michelle Lee, Clerks, Presidio Early Elementary School- Special Service Award and Distinguished Service Award Winners for February 2021

"These two women have been amazing and very supportive of the needs of the teachers since the Shelter in Place. They have done their best to keep us informed to the best of their ability during these trying times. They made sure to keep us informed of deadlines, especially payroll, prop G, non-service, and any other issues that we needed to be made aware of. Also, they helped to answers questions from parents in regard to fees. We knew if we had a question they would help to find the answers.  They are always available and willing to help us with smiles on their faces."-Nominated 6/2020

Daniela Funes, Bilingual Family Liason, Thurgood Marshall Academic High School - Special Service Award Winner for February 2021

"Daniela serves as our Student Advocate and Family Liaison, and she is literally the glue that holds our school together. In her role, Daniela is a go-to person for our students, our families, and our staff. The pandemic has amplified the qualities we already appreciate in Daniela. She is on the phone for hours every day talking students through how to use Zoom, or even just how to use a computer. She has joined every single teacher’s google classroom (that’s over 100 classes) so that she can know what students are experiencing when she is helping them over the phone. While our school has plenty of fantastic counseling and wellness staff, Daniela remains the north star for many of our newcomer students. Daniela Funes brings her compassion, commitment, and charm to work every day, which makes her indispensable to the Thurgood Marshall community."-Nominated 4/2020

Laura Palacio, NBCT, Teacher, Lakeshore Elementary School - Distinguished Service Award Winner for January 2021

"Laura is an exceptional educator. I’ve been a special education teacher in various environments for nearly 20 years and I can easily say that Laura is one of the best. She demonstrates phenomenal content knowledge, endless care, and empathy, strategic and purposeful teaching strategies, endless willingness to collaborate and support struggling teachers, and the list simply goes on. Kind, hard-working, intensely supportive of all students, special connections with at-risk students and at-risk families, a creative, joyful, master at behavior management without sacrificing fun and joyful learning."-Nominated 2/2020

Maria Yap, Student Nutrition Services, Central Office - Special Service Award Winner for January 2021

"Ms. Maria goes above and beyond to make our lunchroom warm and inviting. She makes sure everyone has access to school lunch. She gets to know the students and encourages them to try new entrees. She's also part of our Mentor program and is an active support to all students! Maria has such a positive outlook. Our students will often have breakfast in the AM bc she's there to greet them! She flexible and accommodates to various student food needs and also encourages our teachers to eat lunch."-Nominated 12/2019