RAVE Nominees 2019

RAVE Nominees 2019

Aysa Landa, Chemistry Teacher, Abraham Lincoln High School

"Ms. Landa believes in her students and she encourages them to believe in themselves.  She gives students scientific explanations that she links to students learning and life experiences. As a female science teacher, she is a role model.  As an immigrant, she is also a role model for students of color and they have said, “she sees me” One former student was inspired by Ms. Landa when she told him that she was not only teaching Chemistry but teaching students how to learn incrementally.  She said, 'It’s important for you to believe in yourself'."-Nominated 12/2019

Maria Yap, Student Nutrition Services, Garfield Elementary School

"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

Juliette Swazo, Paraprofessional, Francis Scott Key Elementary School

"Juliette truly goes the extra mile to make sure all students, especially our students with disabilities, participate in the general education curriculum. In particular, the work she has done with our students in the moderate-to-severe special day classes is exceptional. She is also collaborative, helpful, thoughtful, and provides our students with much needed encouragement. Lastly, she has a whole-child perspective, in that she is mindful of how different factors affect a student during their school day. Everyone at FSK would agree that Juliette is a phenomenal paraprofessional."-Nominated 11/2019

Kevin Terjesen, Teacher, A.P. Giannini Middle School

"Mr. Terjesen is an amazing teacher who goes the extra mile. He is constantly finding neat experiences for students to learn in a hands-on way. He works with outside organizations to give the students to neatest field trip opportunities. Additionally, he has over 50 DonorsChoose grants fulfilled! He's always going the extra mile!  He is kind and innovative. He's been teaching for a long time and still working on giving kids awesome experiences."-Nominated 11/2019

Anthony Mills, Custodian, Rooftop Elementary School

"Anthony is a true leader.  He holds his staff accountable and works with the school site to ensure that our facilities are sparkling and that teachers can teach in a safe, respectful environment.  Anthony really gets it.  It's great to have someone who understands the urgent needs of a school site and respond so quickly.  His turnaround time and professionalism is to be admired.  His attitude is incredible, and he's a pleasure to work with."-Nominated 10/2019

Alex Portillo, Custodian, Robert L. Stevenson Elementary School

"Mr. Alex is upbeat, helpful, and everywhere. He has high standards of cleanliness and works hard all day, everyday.  Mr. Alex is very positive. He always demonstrates respect for fellow staff members. He works hard regardless of where he is in the school and will go above and beyond to help students and teachers. Because he works during the day, his duties are always getting complicated with last minute interruptions and emergencies. He's there when you need him and he somehow manages to get everything taken care of. During recesses, he often passes through the yard on his way to another spot. Multiple students will go out of their way to go talk to him. Even though he's busy, he takes a minute to talk to the students and smile with them - he makes them feel important and valued."-Nominated 10/2019

Jennifer Comeans, Literary Coach, Bessie Carmichael Elementary School

"Jennifer goes above and beyond the call of duty. Over the last 3 years, she has worked tirelessly with staff and students to target our most vulnerable students and help lift them to their social and academic best.She is an amazing individual who maintains a goal of helping students and encompasses all of our core values. Jennifer is consistent and follows through with what she says. She is dependable, honest, and always willing to help her colleagues and she also leads and facilitates our ILT and GLC meetings."-Nominated 10/2019

Marcia Atkins, Paraprofessional, Visitacion Valley Middle School

"Ms. Atkins is a treasue!  She is kind to the students, always willing to help, and is a valuable resource to helping all students achieve.  Teachers love having her in their classrooms because she is consistent, kind, helpful, and always keeps the students at the center.  Ms. Atkins is always bringing small gifts of food to teachers and students letting them know they matter. She takes the time to make sure everyone matters at school.  Everyone is rushing around "busy, busy busy" and Ms. Atkins takes the time to make everyone feel welcomed.  Where there is so much change and inconsistency due to the nature of the city- there is Ms. Atkins- a rock of stability and kindness for generations of San Franciscans in Vis Valley and Sunnydale!"-Nominated 09/2019

Astrid Del Cid, Child Welfare Attendance Liason, Pupil Services

"Astrid is hard working, punctual, and works well with a team.  She has kept her promise by showing up for all scheduled meetings and is not afraid of hard work.  This past week, she helped our School Workers write, print, and send proactive attendance letters to families stressing the importance of Attendance.  We know this support will help our school improve it's truancy rates. She works with us weekly, shows up on time, and works really hard with our team.  We are so thankful for her support!"-Nominated 09/2019

Tina Estoque, Registrar, Raoul Wallenberg High School

"Ms. Tina is outstanding, incredibly reliable and knowledgeable, she frequently fills in when there is another clerical staff absent and is always professional in her work.  We are so lucky to have her at Wallenberg. Ms. Tina handles the rush of the counseling office with humor and grace, even when she is the only clerk there and countless students are needing attention.  She rocks! "-Nominated 09/2019

Sergio Robledo-Maderazo, Social Science Teacher, Balboa High School

"Mr. Robledo-Maderazo came to us by way of a neighboring district almost two years ago.  His contributions to the learning community have been instrumental, moving forward our 9th and 10th-grade house behavior expectations and academic key skills to steep our incoming Freshman and Sophomores with.  He began his teaching career at Balboa/SFUSD 16 years ago, went away, sharpened his craft and has been an asset to the learning community in more ways than one since the beginning of the 18-19 school year. Additionally, he has participated in the district-wide Equity Studies PLC and assisted in advancing our work in that field, and lastly, Sergio has moved our project-based learning trajectory forward and has contributed to site-based leadership through the Instructional Leadership Team the past two years. "-Nominated 09/2019

Tiffany Obayashi, Assistant Principal, Rooftop K-8

"Tiffany is the living embodiment of SFUSD values! If you take any poster, t-shirt, classroom anchor chart, guidelines, etc. and turned it into a human being, you could get Tiffany! She exudes the humanistic components of our best intentions. The policies that we hope to enact and the professionalism we wish we had on the best day is captured by her every single day. Ever heard of the eternal optimist? The person who sees the best in others and possesses altruistic beliefs in everyone around them? Such a person isn't a myth. They exist, and they are Tiffany Obayashi! She cares about her work and makes it look easy. She has served 14 years in our community with a smile. Her loyalty and professionalism should be a case study for anyone who wants to see a model of how to thrive within a diverse work setting." - Nominated 09/2019

Sarah Tiu, Operations Manager, Early Education

"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

Renee Boror, 3rd Grade Teacher, ER Taylor Elementary School

"Ms. Renee is committed and dedicated to serving the underprivileged student population of ER Taylor Elementary in the Portola District.  She is kind, compassionate, sympathetic, persistent and thorough in the undertaking, not just the rigors of being an educator but she also has a great knack in welcoming new colleagues to the school.Her students always emerge the winner since she has high expectations of them not just academically but socio-emotionally as well.  Her infectious smile and cheery personality make going to work a pleasure and something to look forward to." - Nominated 08/2019

Michael Geier, School Social Worker - Tenderloin Community School

"Michael is caring and compassionate about students, staff and families.  At the same time, he keeps us focused on objective data-based decision-making around student supports. He is well-connected to community resources available for our students and he serves as a central connection point between our on- and off-site services for students. He puts in many hours of work beyond his contracted time, and goes the extra mile with interventions, such as home visits, phone calls, emails, and face to face conversations with families, all of which take place on an ongoing basis." - Nominated 08/2019

Ricki Tai, LEAD Assistant - Central Office

"Ricki Tai is an amazing force of efficiency, humanity, and jack of all trade-ness in SFUSD. Ricki cares tremendously about every person in any building, and is an exemplar of what it means to keep equity at the center. Irregardless of status or title, Ricki cares that your needs are met, and makes you feel like the most special person in the room. At Admin Institute this year, I was scrambling to get something accomplished. Ricki responded to my needs, keeping me updated constantly on the status of the task, and all with a positivity and charm that is unmatched. He put my work stress at ease with his mannerism, and I'm so grateful to this day for the attention to detail that he gave to something that may seem so trivial to someone else. Just awesomeness personified. SFUSD is so lucky to have someone like Ricki in our midst!" - Nominated 08/2019

Adetunji Elegbede, Area Supervisor - Student Nutrition Services

"Tunji treats students, teachers and dining staff in the friendliest professional manner. He is a fixture in the community and is aware of of all news in the Bayview area. Tunji's priority is feeding the student of SFUSD a healthy meal, and he will overcome any obstacle in his way. He was the first Area Supervisor to have Willie Brown Middle School commit all lunch meals to be 100% produced in-house. Tunji was able to work out all the logistics( storage, staff work flow, and ordering) to serve all the students two months before our spring semester deadline. He is a pleasure to work with!" - Nominated 07/2019

Debra Netkin, First Grade Teacher - Lawton Alternative Elementary School

"Ms Netkin recommended some time for our son to spend with a specialist at school. In addition she emailed me regularly. This constant communication made it clear that any behavioral issues he was having would be dealt with on a team basis. This really got him to take responsibility, to the point that he became proactive in letting me know if he had gotten into trouble.In addition to her deep commitment to the personal development of our child, the quality of education is absolutely outstanding. Our son’s portfolio at year's end was absolutely bursting with detailed writings and diagrams. We are thrilled to see that public schools are blessed with an educator as excellent as Debra Netkin.." - Nominated 06/2019

Monique Williams, Kindergarten Teacher - Visitacion Valley Elementary School

"Mrs. Williams is the first teacher my son has had. She creates the foundation kids need coming into kindergarten, a new world where they learn to grow, and learn what the expectations are for a student.  It’s amazing seeing how calm and passionate Mrs. Williams is with her students. Mrs. Williams knows exactly how to deal with very high energy kids! I don't know how she does it!  She is very respectful with all students, parents and staff! A very reliable teacher! She's respectful, nice, caring and fun! My son never has any negative comments about her! She is great at what she does!” - Nominated 05/2019

James DeLara, Programmer Analyst - Central Office

"Jim DeLara will be retiring on June 30, 2019 after more than 34 years of service to SFUSD. In addition, both of Jim's parents worked for SFUSD in various teaching and administrative positions. Together, the DeLara family has provided over 80 years of service to SFUSD. The knowledge, rigor and caring he brings to work everyday is unparalleled. Jim wants things to be correct and he understands the importance of reporting data that will stand the test of time. With that end in mind, as he prepares for retirement he is documenting all of the work he does, including detailed step-by-step processes and working with the person who will be taking on the task in the future. Specifically, over the past 17 years Jim has created a process for publishing the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) for each of our schools. This is an annual task required by the state of California that includes the management, cataloging, translating and reporting  of information compiled from Human Resources, Buildings and Grounds, the Legal Office, the CDE and the Educational Placement Center. Jim is a joy to work with and has served our schools with distinction.” - Nominated 05/2019

Cyrus Esteban, Band Instructor - Aptos Middle School

"Encouragement, motivation, inspiration, and  support, is given all out to students who enter Mr. Cyrus Esteban's band class. His determination to hone every student’s abilities and skills to realize their own personal sacrifice needed to obtain their best performance. That has been the difference in making Aptos Band a standard above all other middle schools in the city. Mr. Cyrus Esteban’s belief in music offers the student confidence in themselves to pronounce sounds worthy of praise and attention and this same feeling carries over to other activities to produce the same success. Through music, Mr. Esteban has instilled in each of the students to do their best without regard to success or failure. He's done that successfully enough to consistently bring out the best in the students. Mr. Cyrus Esteban has day in and day out come to his students with the same outlook, to get the students in his band class to be their best regardless of the distractions in their lives.” - Nominated 05/2019

Gloria Flores, Paraprofessional - Galileo Academy of Science and Technology  

"Gloria has been by my daughter’s side through elementary school at Jefferson Elementary School in the inclusion program, Marina Middle School in the inclusion program and at Galileo Academy High School in the Special Day Class.  Gloria has also been riding on the bus to and from school with my daughter to and from her CCS Physical and Occupational Therapies with her. She has been more than a paraprofessional, more than a teacher (Sarah uses the ECO2 eye gaze technology speech generating device), more than a loving support and friend but she has been part of our family. Gloria is dependable, reliable, kind, generous, gets along with everyone, is open to learning new things and has the biggest heart of anyone.  There is nothing that a teacher, speech therapist, physical therapist, occupational therapist or co workers have asked her to do that she has not tried with all her heart to do and do well. Over the 15 years, there are countless stories and examples of amazing things Gloria has done. I think one thing that speaks the most about her character is the fact that I can count on one hand how many times she has missed work/school. Five or less in 15 years. She never complains no matter how tiring her job is.  She never needs a day off and works tirelessly each & every day.” - Nominated twice 05/2019

Jonathan Jacobson, Teacher - Willie Brown Jr. Middle School 

"Mr. Jacobson is an extremely dedicated computer science teacher who strives to include all of his students and help them excel.  He consistently devotes his personal time to helping the most troubled kids in the school and started a Magic the Gathering club to create a safe place for all kids to hang out, make friends and learn new skills (interpersonal, reading, leadership, kids teaching their peers, etc.).  He is truly passionate and makes a real difference in the kids' lives. I attended his Family Coding Night and he got parents and siblings excited about coding, telling the younger ones he'd see them in a few years. I'd heard a lot about Mr. Jacobson from my son, but only met him last night for the first time and finally saw how he interacts with his students during the Family Coding Night.  They obviously respect and like him tremendously". - Nominated 05/2019

Annie Huynh, Latin Teacher - Lowell High School

"Annie has always been an exemplary student. Now Annie teaches them. Not only do her core values match up with SFUSD Core Values but she implements them daily. She ensures equitable treatment for every student who enters her classroom. If there is a need - whether it's school supplies or someone to talk to Annie is not only present, but available. She goes beyond the call of duty each and every day of the week. Especially on Saturdays, when she runs her fundraisers for Latin Club. She supports everyone regardless of beliefs, culture, or differences. Social Justice has become a part of her everyday mission. All for one, and one for All.  Annie is Fearless. Regardless of the challenge, she meets it with fortitude, intellect, resourcefulness, and gumption. She has cultivated a learning environment for her students that is filled with love, understanding, and a tenacity to strive for acceptance of diversity. She spends six days a week and 12 hours a day investing in her students and school. She makes goody bags during the holidays. Discusses topics that may be frightening or difficult with intellect and compassion." - Nominated 05/2019

Tina Huie, 2nd Grade Teacher - Frank McCoppin Elementary School

"Ms. Huie exemplifies so many of SFUSD's core values. She is student centered in the way she approaches and tackles each individual student's needs. Ms. Huie is always willing to chat with colleagues about student performance. She treats your question, big or small, as her highest priority and if she doesn't have an answer, will do her best to find you one. She is such a team player and goes above and beyond the core curriculum to make learning an enriching experience for her students. Ms. Huie's students love her. As teachers our time is very limited so we cherish any break we have. During Ms. Huie's breaks (recess, lunch, before school) you will almost always see students in her room. She opens her classroom up on her free time to provide her students with a safe space to socialize. Ms. Huie is innovative. She always has fun and interesting projects for students to work on. This year she has a worm farm in her classroom for students to learn about the benefits of composting. Our staff at McCoppin is small and each and every teacher works very hard and is so good at what they do. If you polled the staff and asked, who is the hardest working teacher at McCoppin I have no doubt that everyone would vote for Tina." - Nominated 04/2019

Alijona Andrejeff, Physiology and Biology Teacher - George Washington High School

"Ms. Aljona Andrejeff is an innovator in life science education. In her Physiology and Biology classes, Aljona has her students outside working in the garden at least twice a week. Given that this is one of the main SFUSD science goals for our students Aljona is ensuring that our district's plan is a reality. Ms. Andrejeff is wholly dedicated to her students. The amount of time that she devotes to providing feedback for her student's lab work is unbelievable. She is known for holding her students to a very high standard and students learn an incredible amount from her. Her lessons are varied and compelling and they always tie the physiology or biology concepts to her student's life experiences." - Nominated 04/2019

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

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

This page was last updated on March 5, 2021