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.


PLL Team Members standing and kneeling in a group looking at the camera


Professional Learning and Leadership

Nora Houseman - Supervisor
Nora Houseman 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 7th 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 and other paraeducator learning initiatives, Deeper Learning and Project Based Learning, the Lesson Study Project, 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.

Paraeducators on Special Assignment

The Paraeducator Leadership Network (PLN) Team

Janet Eberhardt (she/her/hers)

Janet is a proud paraeducator of 37 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 the great impact it plays in the positive outcome of students, families, and communities of San Francisco.  As an Elementary Advisor, she has worked to address the needs of the whole student, which encompasses the family and community.  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 at San Francisco State (SITE)Program in 1999) where the program focus was teaching children of color, her focus and joy was counseling.  So she completed her studies and obtained a Masters in Counseling.  Her work as a Community Relations Specialist afforded her the opportunity to touch student lives in many different ways.  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 stepped away from working directly with the students and families and started working in her current role as a PSA Paraeducator on Special Assignment, working as a mentor and coach for paraeducators throughout the district.  Her role on the PLL/PLN Committee is very dear to her heart, and she is so dedicated to the Paraeducator (PLN) Network. In this role, she works with identified paraeducator leaders who provide mentoring and ongoing professional development. 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, has been with SFUSD for about seven years, and has over a decade 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.
Jennifer JLó López (she/her/hers)
JLó has been an educator in SFUSD for the past 8 years. A graduate of the Para Leadership Network (PLN), JLo has the privilege to serve as a coach for the Para Leadership Network (PLN).  Born and raised in San Francisco, JLó is a graduate of SFUSD K-12, CCSF, and SFSU with a BA in Latino Studies with a focus in Behavioral and Social Science. Working in education for the past 12 years, JLó has served the community as a Substitute Teacher, an S10 Para Educator in the classroom with students, and an N34 Site Nutrition Coordinator out of School Health Programs serving various school sites. Completing the 4 years of the PLN has fostered JLó’s skills to plan, organize, and facilitate professional development for her peers throughout the district. 


Teachers on Special Assignment

Nobie Camarena (he/him)
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 an empowering 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. 
Mira Carberry (they/them/theirs) - Elementary Math Grant Manager
Mira worked in youth development and afterschool programs based in the Tenderloin neighborhood, working with students from SFUSD elementary schools, including Bessie Carmichael, Tenderloin Community, Redding, and Starr King. During that time, they learned how quickly a kindergartener can lose a shoe on public transit and how urgently we need to listen to our young people and take seriously their desires to make this world a more beautiful, just place. In 2013, Mira became a grade bilingual classroom teacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann (BVHM) K-8 school in the Mission District. During their ten years at BVHM, Mira taught 3rd grade for 7 years and then looped with a cohort of 3rd graders up to 5th grade. Alongside their classroom teaching, Mira co-founded Grupo para el Avance de Niñas y Aliades (GANA), a teacher/student collaborative program that supports girls, non-binary, and transgender students to express their gender identities and take action against gender-based discrimination at school through student leadership. This year, they have taken on a new role as the Elementary Math Grant Manager with the PLL team. They are working with Flynn, Muir, Malcolm X, and Sanchez elementary schools to support the ongoing development of Lesson Study and Teaching Through Problem Solving. They believe these methodologies present the opportunity to create pedagogical shifts that transform learning, both by elevating joy and rigor and by creating more equitable outcomes for students across SFUSD.
Jessica Fishman
Jessica Fishman has spent the last 18+ years working in public education. This is Jessica’s sixth year serving as an instructional coach on the Professional Learning and Leadership Team. 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 ( She began her career in education teaching early elementary in the South Bronx through Teach For America and holds a master's in education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education. 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 belonging, connection, and change necessary for our students and our community.
Kathleen Helfrey (she/her/hers)
Kathleen is a Bay Area native who has been working in education for the past 15 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 there, 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 fourth 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.
Melissa Rodriguez (ella|she)
Melissa has been in public education for 20+ years, primarily as a secondary ELA and ELD in the Bay Area and the Salinas Valley. She developed her practice through project-based learning, performance assessments, culturally responsive teaching, and professional learning communities. She is committed to the important work of supporting teachers, students, and families to create the public education system our communities deserve.


This page was last updated on September 11, 2023