Professional Learning and Development Team

Mission Statement

We exist to...

support SFUSD educators at all stages of their career to grow their practice and their leadership to create the conditions for all students to thrive. We support educators to experience or design and facilitate high quality, equity-centered professional learning (inquiry-driven, critically-conscious, culturally-relevant) to drive their own learning and that of their colleagues in service of students.

Professional Learning and Leadership

Supervisor
Nora Houseman
Nora grew up in Washington DC, attending (tracked and segregated) public schools there and leaving high school determined to further equity and justice in public schooling. She taught middle school (all subjects; math through social justice) for nine years in Oakland, San Lorenzo, and San Francisco, then served as the school leader (principal) for four years at San Francisco Community School. SFC - a racially diverse, K-8, project-based school with democratic leadership structures - allowed Nora to grow deeply in her practice and leadership, working collectively to interrogate and interrupt inequitable structures and practices, and seeking to create transformative ways of “doing school” and building and strengthening community with SFC’s students, adults and families. This is now Nora’s third year serving as Supervisor in SFUSD’s Department of Professional Growth & Development leading the Professional Learning and Leadership Team, designing and supporting various professional development programs and initiatives, including the Teacher Leader Fellowship, the ParaEducator Leadership Network, the Project Based Learning Support Team, the Lesson Study Project, the Leading for Equity PLCs, and PD Hours for Educators. These programs focus on educator-led, grassroots, professional learning and leadership, supporting SFUSD educators at all stages of their career to design, deliver and/or experience high quality, equity-centered professional development - in order to grow and enhance their practice and their leadership - so that we transform student outcomes and student experience in SFUSD schools.

 

Paraeducator on Special Assignment

The Paraeducator Leadership Network (PLN) Team

Janet Eberhardt

Janet is a proud paraeducator of 32 years working with the SFUSD where she has valued her role as a Community Relations Specialist/Elementary Advisor working as a child and family advocate. She started in this unique paraprofessional position from the inception of its creation and to this day, she shares with others the value of this position and its great impact it plays in the outcome of students, families and communities of San Francisco. As an Elementary Advisor she has work to address the needs of the whole student which encompasses the family and community. This position allowed her to be creative and provide extra-curricular programs to address students needs. Janet has had the opportunity to spread her love and skills throughout the district working at various elementary schools throughout her career. Although she completed the credential program (San Francisco State) in 1999, she often states she is a paraprofessional by choice which validates her love for the work she did as an advisor. Her work as an Community Relations Specialist afforded her the opportunity to touch student lives in many different ways. As a CRS, her work focused on building student self esteem, organizing student conflict managers programs, student council committees, and various incentive programs and activities. Her passion is working with students, challenging each student to focus on goals to achieve in helping that student to be successful and thrive in the school setting. She recently extended that level of commitment when she step away from working directly with the students and families and she is currently working as a PSA, Paraprofessional on Special Assignment working as a mentor and coach for paraeducators throughout the district. She is most excited about her work as a PSA which allows her the opportunity to spread her passion for advocacy, equity and her educational philosophy (simple logic) with other paraeducators.
Sean Nunley-Willis
Sean was a member of the Para Leadership Network (PLN) for three years and has been with SFUSD for about seven years and has 11 years of diverse youth development and education experience. Sean has experience in both elementary and middle schools, although he has a real passion for middle school students. He loves to support their social-emotional growth. He believes that students need trusted adults who build authentic relationships during these critical years of their lives. This is what led Sean to work with his peers to create more inclusive, equitable, & fun communities. As a coach, Sean wants to encourage his fellow para educators to learn and grow and challenge themselves & to shine a light on the hard work of these educators.

 

Leading for Equity

Head Counselor on Special Assignment
Dr. Don Frazier, Jr.

Don serves as the Equity and Professional Growth & Development Coach for the Professional Learning & Leadership (PLL) within the Professional Growth and Development Department (PGD) of SFUSD. He also serves as a coach for the ParaEducator Leadership Network (PLN). As a Leadership Coach, Don plans, organizes, leads and facilitates professional development events in a multitude of settings. Don also provides leadership coaching for Pathway Teachers and the Teacher-Leader Coaches within the Teacher Pathways program. Don also collaborates to provide leadership coaching for SFUSD’s school psychologists. Don is also a professor and co-project and program coordinator for the Educational Leadership doctoral program at San Francisco State University.

Some personal information about Don. He transitioned to the San Francisco/Bay Area in 2004 by way of Southern Illinois. Since his time in the Bay Area, he has obtained his BS in Media Arts & Animation, his MA in Counseling Psychology from USF, and his EDD (doctorate of education) in Educational Leadership from SFSU. Don has been professionally growing while providing his expertise in the field of education since 2008. He has worked in the non-profit sector as well as at private, public and charter schools. His primary focus in his various roles has been centered around identity development, social emotional development, coaching, and counseling. Since Don’s time within SFUSD, he was the Head Counselor/Dean of Students for Galileo Academy of Science and Technology for three years prior to joining the PLL team in 2018. Don considers himself to be person-centered, curious, inviting, skeptical, and hope-full.

 

Teachers on Special Assignment

Nobie Camarena
Nobie has worked in public education since 1997. The majority of that time was spent working as a K/1 teacher at San Francisco Community School - a small, diverse, K-8 school in the southeast corner of the city. Throughout his time there, he anchored his classroom practice in project based learning, problem based learning, and other constructivist learning practices focusing on the interplay of agency and collaboration in creating a transformative community. Nobie is driven by a deep faith in the potential for love and community within humanity, intellectual honesty and curiosity, and the potential for joy in the midst of struggle. He believes our schools must be places where students can be and explore their whole selves, and that adults must create a new way of being and being together if schools are to be a place of transformation.
Jessica Fishman
Jessica Fishman has spent the last fifteen years working in public education. Jessica worked as a teacher, principal and instructional coach at San Francisco Community School - a diverse, K-8 school in the Excelsior. Jessica has been focused on educator leadership and development, equity, project-based learning and balanced literacy in her work at San Francisco Community School (my-sfcs.org). She began her career in education teaching early elementary in the South Bronx through Teach For America and holds a masters in education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education. This is Jessica’s third year serving as an instructional coach in PG&D. Jessica is particularly interested in how educators learn and grow together; fostering agency, collaboration, reflection and relational trust so that we can bring about the interruption and change necessary for our students and our community.
Kathleen Helfrey
Kathleen is a bay area native who has been working in education for the past ten years. She began her career in education in a rural community in Ghana, West Africa where she met a group of elders who wanted to build a library in their village. This moment led her to co-found an educational non-profit designed to make education in rural communities more accessible. Her passion for education as a form of liberation led her to begin her teaching career at San Francisco Community School - a diverse, K-8, project-based school with democratic leadership structures. Through her work here she was able to deepen her commitment to equity-centered educational practices and educator leadership opportunities to create conditions for all students to thrive. This is Kathleen’s first year on the Professional Learning and Leadership team where she works collaboratively with educators to grow their practice and leadership capacity in service of students.
Susi Brennan
Susi has been a public school educator for over 20 years. Most of her classroom teaching was at San Francisco Community School, where she taught 4th-8th grades and was a Resource Specialist for 3 years. After having received so much support as a teacher through SFC’s reflective, equity-focused, and shared leadership community, she wanted to support and empower teachers in other schools. She became an Instructional Reform Facilitator at Daniel Webster Elementary where she facilitated grade level meetings, co-designed professional development, and co-created a shared leadership model. Then, as an IRF at Hillcrest Elementary, she continued coaching and facilitating grade level meetings while supporting whole school lesson study. This is Susi’s first year on the Professional Learning and Leadership team and she is very excited to continue working with educators to build equitable, reflective, compassionate, empowered learning communities for students and adults
Melissa Rodriguez
Melissa has been an English/Language Arts and English Language Development teacher in both middle and high school for the past fifteen years in the Bay Area and the Salinas Valley. Throughout that time she developed her practice through project-based learning, performance assessments, culturally responsive teaching, and professional learning communities. She believes that schools and districts should provide excellent, inquiry-based, professional development in the service of students and that teachers should have the opportunity to collaborate and analyze student work and data in order to solve problems of practice and facilitate high-quality, meaningful learning. As a new member of the PLL team this year, Melissa is excited to support teachers and teams in the growth and development of their practice throughout the different stages of their careers.
Nicole Henderson
A Bay Area native, Nicole’s work is grounded in a passion for public service with a special interest in Education Policy reform. She has worked across the Bay Area school districts for more than a decade. After beginning her career in Oakland, as an independent contractor working in Behavior and Crisis Intervention Support and After School Programing; Nicole received a B.A. in Political Science, along with an M.A. and Credential in Special Education from San Francisco State University. In 2014 Nicole transitioned to SFUSD and began her work as an Education Specialist, serving students and families with exceptional needs, gaining an in-depth perspective of the varied conditions across the diverse communities within the district. This year, Nicole joins the Professional Learning and Leadership Team as an Instructional Coach, in addition to supporting the Teacher Leader Fellowship, and Leading for Equity Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Nicole is excited to continue the work supporting educators understanding on how to manage systems of oppression in order to better serve students in marginalized groups.

 

National Board Support Program

Nia Ross
All 15 years of Nia’s career as an educator have been in San Francisco. As a Pennsylvania native, she has enjoyed learning about the city she loves through her role as educator at various schools across the city. She’s worked with students in all the elementary grades as a classroom teacher and technology integration specialist. In her current role as Program Co-Coordinator for the National Board Support Program, she aims to help teachers develop the language and confidence to articulate their intentional planning and skillful instruction.
Maria Hunt
Maria was born and raised in the Bay Area. She began her teaching career in San Jose, then moved to New York where she taught in Bushwook, Brooklyn until finally coming back and settling down in San Francisco Unified. She has loved learning and growing in the different communities in which she has been an educator. Within schools she found her passion to be literacy and served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist , and instructional coach. She is beginning her first year outside of a school setting with the National Board Support Program. She is excited to work with educators as they engage in deep reflection to push their practice in the service of our students.