2023-2024 RAVE Nominees

RAVE Nominees 2023-2024

E. Michael Chelsky, Teacher, Independence High School

"Mr. Chelsky has always strived to connect with his students and has always made the classroom a productive yet relaxing place to learn. He is passionate about what he teaches, he has a direct yet unique way of teaching, and he is always taking the time to check in with his students. Mr. Chelsky makes it a point to get us all together to discuss what we are learning in class every week. You would think as teenagers we don't like this, but Mr. Chelsky has a way of making it interactive, fun, funny, and comfortable. He shares stories of his own in order to connect with us and what we are learning, this makes the pathway for us students to also feel free to share. He has such a cool background and he truly is passionate about what he does. He loves his podcasting mini studio in his classroom and he gives us the opportunity to record in it while he gives us pointers and ideas. He is well-known at Independence for his podcasting class and his KQED opportunities he offers his students."  -Nominated 10/2023

Louanne Lee, Nurse, Student Family Services Division

"Louanne has consistently demonstrated not only the highest level of clinical competence but also an extraordinary ability to lead and inspire her colleagues. She has been a vital part of our nursing team and has played a significant role in improving our care to our students, maintaining the highest standards of care, and fostering a positive work environment. I have had the privilege of witnessing Louanne's unwavering commitment to our students and families, leadership, and continuous professional growth. The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Special Education recently awarded recognition for Louanne's work at SFUSD." -Nominated 10/2023

Winnie Mai, Early Childhood Special Educator, Paul Revere Elementary School

"Winnie is a superstar who always goes above and beyond for her students and their families. Winnie is creative, thoughtful, dedicated, open-minded, consistent, knowledgeable, organized, and stays calm and kind with her students even when there are challenging behaviors. Winnie did not give up on a preschool student with extremely challenging behaviors, persisted to get him the help he needed, and helped him start shining. Winnie communicates extremely well with families. She sends a detailed weekly newsletter and classroom photos so families really know what is happening at school." -Nominated 11/2023

Shahrzad Mohammadzadeh Eidgahi, Paraeducator, Lawton Alternative School

"Shahrzad is an exemplary team member whose maturity and reliability held together our Special Day Class last year when there was no permanent teacher. Now that we have a great teacher in the room, Shahrzad is the person who the classroom teacher and all the other paraeducators rely on for guidance and advice. She works with all the students effectively. She is always professional and warm with all staff and students. This year, and every year, everyone in the classroom relies on her wisdom, warmth, and professionalism to be a true co-leader with the teacher. She has her eyes on the whole class at all times." -Nominated 12/2023

Marrietosh Cunanan Richards, Teacher, Balboa High School

"Ms. Tosh is an empathetic, creative, caring, and effective teacher. She goes above and beyond for her students. She thinks out of the box and makes learning a fun and engaging experience. She cares for the students like they are her own children. She is a great communicator. We love Ms. Tosh! During the holiday month, Ms Tosh started many arts and crafts projects, organized a skating trip in Union Square for the students. She brought so much joy and community to the classroom. Ms Tosh also organized a coffee cart activity where the students learned to print t-shirts as uniforms, make coffee and hot chocolate, take orders from the customers (teachers at the high school), and learn about money exchange. I wish more students in special education could benefit from instruction like this. Students are gaining important skills and knowledge while having a good time." -Nominated 12/2023

Mira Collamore, Paraeducator, AccessSFUSD:The Arc

"Mira takes tremendous pride in her work with students and in representing SFUSD in the community. In her role as a paraeducator in the community-based special education transition program, Mira supports students to develop their independence while gaining functional life skills and discovering their passions. From job coaching students while at their coffee cart job at SFMTA, to teaching students workout routines at the public pool, Mira does it all! Her positive attitude and infectious smile make her well-liked by our team and all the students who work with her! She is dedicated to serving as an Access ambassador, ensuring our students and program are well represented while highlighting student strengths. Mira has a particular interest in supporting our students who communicate using adaptive communication and is well-versed in helping build meaningful communication pages for students to engage more meaningfully with their peers." -Nominated 1/2024

Classy-Della Martin, Student Advisor, Lakeshore Alternative Elementary School

"Ms. Classy is the kind of person that makes a school feel like a COMMUNITY to so many of us at Lakeshore. She's warm and welcoming and loving and hard working. She really SEES kids and she sees their parents and she supports everyone, including other staff in big ways and small ones. She SHOWS UP for us, and helps us connect to one another so that we can show up for others within our community. She's an incredible facilitator and my favorite face to see at the front gate at pickup and drop-off. Classy runs a black and beyond farmers market and hosts the annual African American Potluck during Black History Month. It is an event that brings the entire community together. SO many families participate across all grade levels and ethic backgrounds. So much food is brought in community and it is awesome to see everyone engage in a positive and supportive setting sharing a meal together like family and enjoying performances like spoken word and dance that Classy works on together with all the student performers. Awesome event and amazing commitment to the school community." -Nominated 2/2024

Susie MacKenzie, Paraeducator, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School

"Susie is ORGANIZED: She has helped me create organizational systems within the classroom, which is so needed and necessary in special education classrooms in particular. She knows the weekly class schedule by heart and is prepped for each day. Even in her down time, Susie will ask me if copies need to be made, schedules need to be laminated, or homework folders need to be prepped. Susie is DEPENDABLE: No ask is too big for Susie. She can jump into any activity or group at a moment's notice and has taken the time to learn new skills in her free time. All of the students know the expectations when working with Susie as she consistently holds the students to high standards. Susie is COMPASSIONATE: It is so apparent how deeply Susie cares about the wellbeing of the students. She exudes patience, grace, and warmth when working with students and takes the time to ensure the students feel safe, supported, and seen each day." -Nominated 2/2024

Christopher Telles, Teacher, Guadalupe Elementary School

"Coach Chris consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that each student receives the support they need to thrive academically, regardless of their learning style or background. His commitment to differentiation is particularly commendable, as he tailors his teaching methods to accommodate the unique needs of every student. This dedication not only enhances the overall learning experience but also contributes significantly to the academic success of our diverse student body. As an exemplary educator, Coach Chris is a shining example to his peers. His pedagogical approach is characterized by a unique blend of creativity, adaptability, and a deep understanding of individual student needs. His commitment to incorporating differentiated instruction ensures that every student has the opportunity to thrive academically, creating an inclusive and enriching learning environment." -Nominated 2/2024

Ruth Vazquez Martinez, Paraeducator, Buena Vista Horace Mann 

"I am nominating this exceptional paraeducator for recognition due to her exemplary performance. She consistently demonstrates unwavering dedication to both students and teachers, providing personalized support with patience and compassion. Additionally, she seamlessly collaborates with the teaching staff, offering valuable assistance whenever needed. Her genuine passion for education enriches our school community, making her an invaluable asset. She is so patient and calming for her students. Ruth has made an incredible impact on the students and teachers in our community. Her multi-year work helped change a student that would refuse to attend class and put herself in dangerous situations into a student who is now presenting in front of the class and feeling more secure in her abilities. Children trust her. That is the basis of learning. Ruth is a child-whisperer." -Nominated 2/2024

Maria Meza Osuna, Teacher, Longfellow Elementary School

"Maria is new to the Longfellow Community but has already left her mark in many ways. She had not only connected with her students, but with their families right away. She has stepped up and spoken about strategies and better ways to support newcomer students. Most of all, she is not afraid to ask for help, keeping her students in the center of every decision she makes in the classroom. Maria reached out to the afterschool program about a family in need of support. She communicated with the program and strategized ways to help the family. The program reached out to PTA to see if they could sponsor the family in which they did. Because of Maria’s perseverance, the family was able to enroll the student, which led to a chain reaction of positive outcomes." -Nominated 2/2024

Ana Huitron Nunez, Teacher, Buena Vista Horace Mann

"I am delighted to nominate Maestra Ana, my child's exceptional Second-Grade teacher, for the RAVE Award. Maestra Ana's unwavering dedication, innovative teaching methods, student-centered approach, and genuine passion for shaping young minds make her a standout educator. She is a true collaborator with parents. I collaborated with her to do a read-aloud in the classroom, and it went very smoothly; she helped with Spanish interpretation and was hands-on during the whole storytime. She called us before the first day of school and spoke with me for fifteen minutes. Whoa! No one has ever done that before! She really spends time with parents and the students, is always inviting, and makes it truly feel like our classroom and not just a teacher's classroom." -Nominated 2/2024

TK SDC Team , Paraeducators, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary

"The Room 6 Para Team, Helen Siu, Howard Jai, and Angela Yee, has gone above and beyond to meet the needs of our entire TK classroom. They are constantly adjusting to new students, added services, making and implementing visuals and just being hands down awesome. I would not be able to make it through each day and its challenges without my team. We have seven AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) users and they have all spent endless amounts of time learning the students' devices. This happens during breakfast and lunch periods where they model the different foods on the AAC device. They model requesting and expressing wants and needs with the kiddos. Watching the three of them and their willingness to make mistakes while also learning and modeling something new has been truly amazing. They all accept mistakes with laughter and flexibility, making the kiddos understand that mistakes happen too! Watching the students then use their AAC device independently really shows how much effort my paras are putting into working with them and making the students comfortable." -Nominated 2/2024

Jonathan Fong, Teacher, Lowell High School

"Jonathan goes above and beyond teaching duties to ensure all students have access and equity. He is focused on student outcomes, strong academics, and college readiness for all. He advocated for Lowell to host the SAT test so San Francisco students could access the test (without having to travel). Post-pandemic, he made sure Lowell HS is an SAT test site and has also gone above and beyond making sure students know how sign up and complete the test. Jonathan is hard working and cares about ALL students in community, not just Lowell. He makes himself available at all times and keeps parents informed regularly." -Nominated 3/2024

Jui Mei Chang, School Nutrition Services, Marina Middle School

"Jui Mei is a long-term, dedicated Dining Staff member who has worked for over 30 years. Last year, SNS started an Allergy Meal Program at Marina and Jui Mei has done so much to ensure it is successful. This program serves our most vulnerable students. With this new meal program, Jui Mei has stepped in to support whenever needed. This includes shifting schedules of Dining Staff, dealing with new equipment deliveries, etc. Jui Mei is the best- very organized, always on top of her ordering, cooking, and serving of delicious food our students daily. When Jui Mei is there, everything is always taken care of." -Nominated 4/2024

Karen Segal, Teacher, Raoul Wallenberg High School

"Ms. Segal clearly appreciates and enjoys her students as she brings so much joy to her program. Her dedication and own creativity shine through as she brings the auditorium to life. I would like to recognize the work behind the scenes, and the monumental effort it takes to get the students ready for their big performance of Wallapalooza. It is 1.5 hours long, but it takes months of preparation. The kids mix and match into different roles and different band formations. The entire school is unified in this really magical and special day. She is an unsung musical hero and a true advocate for the arts in public schools." -Nominated 4/2024

Michelle Rait, Nurse, Visitacion Valley Middle School

"Nurse Michelle goes above and beyond in her role as school nurse. She ensures that all of our newcomer students are up to date with their immunizations and vaccines and helps families access local clinics and complete medical applications. She facilitated Vision Van for 144 students and approximately 40% of our students received free eye glasses. She has Stanford Mobile Clinic providing free health care on site and is partnering with an organization to have free dental care onsite next year. She has taken Wellness to the next level. Nurse Michele started the year with a home visit for a truant student. She worked with the family to get their older daughter transferred to our school so she could case manage and support both daughters and their family. After missing an entire year of school, the older daughter now attends school daily and is on time!" -Nominated 4/2024

Cecile Laberinto, School Nutrition Services, Lowell High School

"She consistently goes above and beyond, bringing positive energy at all times. Cecile made changes to her service so that she could serve students the wonderful Refresh meals that she and her staff prepared as plated meals vs. individually pre-packaged meals. She is very flexible and hard-working and is always willing to try new things to help improve the dining experiences for the students." -Nominated 5/2024

Linda Oppelt-Perez, Teacher, Buena Vista Horace Mann

"Linda has had a long career and is about to retire. She has dedicated her life to teaching young children with a dedication and care that is rare to find these days. Linda's room is covered with student work and visuals that are age and developmentally appropriate. Every time I walked into her classroom the kids were engaged in some child-centered activity while she circulated or worked with kids in small groups or one on one. I have witnessed independent, happy children, making choices and participating in activities that were creative and challenging. Her classroom is a haven of learning and growth. Linda uses technology sparingly and always with kids participating in some active way. The kids sit in rocking bowls and write on their tablets as she addresses the whole group. It is hard to describe everything that can be noticed in her room to the trained eye, she does so much!" -Nominated 5/2024

Elizabeth Brooks and Peggy Loo, Executive Secretary and Family Liaison, Jean Parker Elementary

"Ms. Liz (Executive Secretary) and Ms. Peggy (Family Liaison) work together to see and support every single family in our community. They truly get to know each family at a personal level, building trust and confidence every day. They work together seamlessly, never duplicating the work and always communicating with each other to ensure clarity for our families. They are multilingual and hold antiracist lenses, ensuring they communicate and support families across all of our language, racial, and ethnic demographics. Our families consistently report feeling like they are part of one big family, where everyone knows each other and feels valued. Liz and Peggy are key people that make this happen. Liz and Peggy are both very humble and do what they do for the love of helping others. They are consistently open to new ideas, improving on existing ones, and working with others so that Jean Parker students, families, and staff feel supported and valued. They exemplify the SFUSD values and I would like the wider community to be aware of the difference they make." -Nominated 5/2024

This page was last updated on May 30, 2024