Alumnx Profiles

Alumnx Profiles

Get to Know Pathway Alumnx

Tzadakel Daniel Alonso - Bilingual Spanish Teacher

 Daniel

Meet Daniel Alonso

Daniel joined SFUSD Pathway to Teaching in 2019 as a Bilingual Spanish teacher. Prior to joining the Pathway program, Daniel worked as a children’s bookseller and an after school literacy volunteer. Majoring in Zoology he worked a brief stint at the Oakland Zoo where he became interested in teaching youth about science and nature. Through his environmentalist work and a desire to change the world for the better, he pursued teaching. Daniel sees his role as an educator as an avenue to encourage his students to care about the natural world. Now, Daniel is a fully credentialed Pathway graduate, teaching 5th grade at Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

"PSP was a lot, but it was nothing compared to actually teaching. The program was easier than I thought it would be, once we got started. I very much enjoyed my PSP experience, and I met lots of great people. Though it was clear from that start that PSP wasn’t going to cover everything, our Learning Labs and Mini Courses were engaging and focused on the right material to get us started on a good foot at the beginning of the school year. 

My favorite things about Pathway are the focus on equity and social justice and the emphasis on restorative practices. The program holds central the idea that we must provide scaffolds for every student to ensure their success - something that is not universally held. I really appreciated this focus. I also really value the relationships I’ve been able to build with my students. The social emotional connections and partnerships that allowed me to make these connections with my students have brought me literal tears of  joy. I am often overwhelmed by how special these kids are, and I feel super proud to be a part of that."

Clare Elliott- Education Specialist, Mild/Moderate

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Meet Clare Elliott

Clare Elliott joined SFUSD Pathway to Teaching in 2017 as a Education Specialist. Prior to joining the Pathway program, Clare worked as a paraprofessional in Nipomo, California. Clare became interested in teaching because her mom is a Speech Language Pathologist at an elementary school. She used to volunteer at her mom’s school growing up. Now, Clare is a fully credentialed Pathway graduate, teaching as a Resource Specialist at Miraloma.

The Pre-Service Preparation was intense! Everyday was packed with teaching, collaborating, learning, and trying new ideas. I have honestly never been so tired in my life. The teaching experience was invaluable and I would not have been ready to lead a class of my own without it. Every afternoon was packed with lessons on critical content areas and coaching. The classes required us all to practice every scenario and theory on each other and built the foundation for many friendships. 

Reflection is key to being an effective teacher. There are many ways to be reflective: making time for self-reflection and next steps, engaging with other teachers to resolve challenges and celebrate victories, and receiving feedback from a trusted mentor or coach on how to improve and to recognize growth in your students and yourself. Pathway to Teaching taught me how to incorporate all these methods of reflection into my teaching practice. Some of my proudest moments as a teacher occurred when I discussed the triumphs of a student with my coach (Beth Blair!) or collaborated on how to support students emotionally with Pathway teachers from other schools. Pathway to Teaching gave me a community of teachers in SFUSD that I collaborate with everyday. There are 4 Pathway teachers at my school. We lift each other up, enabling us to be better teachers for our students.

Judy Espino - Bilingual Spanish Teacher

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Meet Judy Espino

Judy Espino joined SFUSD Pathway to Teaching in 2017 as a Bilingual Spanish educator. Prior to finding the Pathway program, Judy had worked in various education roles including a Special Education Para Professional role with SFUSD, as well as preschool teacher and administrator roles. Judy’s experience with preschool, led her to wonder what it would be like to teach elementary level children, so she became a substitute teacher. This experience led Judy to becoming interested in earning her full credential, but she could not find an affordable route to make it happen, until she found SFUSD Pathway to Teaching. Now Judy is a fully credentialed Pathway graduate, teaching 3rd Grade Bilingual Spanish at Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 Community School.

"While the Pre-Service Preparation period can’t cover everything, it helped me set expectations and prepared me with the tools I needed to manage my classroom. One of the most important mindsets the summer preparation period reinforced was that students will rise to the occasion when held to high expectations. This mindset is something I see evidence of in my classroom, as I watch the successes and growth my students are experiencing. Not only are they reading, writing, adding and subtracting, they are also learning to talk about their work and the process which leads them to their answers.

I am proud to be a role model for children. I am proud to give my students the experience of a teacher who not only looks like them, but one who also understands them and empathizes with their experiences. I am proud to help my students feel like they are part of a community and teach them that the choices they make can affect our entire community. Teaching students to make good choices and resolve problems are life skills that will help them be successful, and I am proud to be able to put them on that path toward success."

Devin Walker - Education Specialist, Mild/Moderate

 devin

Meet Devin Walker

Devin Walker joined SFUSD Pathway to Teaching in 2019 as a Special Education teacher and Case Manager. Prior to joining the Pathway program, Devin worked in multiple industries, though he spent the majority of his career as a guide for various tour companies in San Francisco. Devin always knew that he wanted to be a teacher, but the time and financial commitments of earning a credential were daunting, especially in one of the most expensive cities in the world. He loved the teaching opportunities that tour guiding provided, but the tourism sector was volatile and unsustainable. However, in 2018, a friend and former coworker recruited Devin to become a Special Education Paraeducator at James Lick Middle School. With a foot in the district, Devin heard about the Pathway to Teaching program, and his new pathway forward became clear. Now, Devin is a fully credentialed Pathway graduate, teaching special education Biology and Health Ed. at Abraham Lincoln High School.

"I didn’t have the time or money to go back to school for an entire year, so the PSP worked great for my needs. It got me in the door, in a classroom, and learning the basics in only 6 weeks, and at a reasonable financial cost. I’m the type of person who learns more by watching and doing than by listening or reading. So, working directly with students under a master teacher during summer school was immensely helpful for my growth. While you can’t learn everything in one summer, I learned enough to hit the ground running in August. And, with the help of my amazing Pathway coach, Kahlila, the learning process continued for the rest of my first year in the program.

My proudest moment came at the beginning of my second year of teaching, during 2020’s Fall semester via distance learning. Upon returning to school, I received emails from multiple parents of my former students. They let me know that their children missed me and were very disappointed that I wasn’t their teacher again this year, especially since they couldn’t visit me in my classroom. While, of course, I don’t want my students to be down, I was proud that I had made such a positive impact. I informed them of my office hours on Zoom, and my students have visited me for every one since! Being a teacher is not solely about teaching. First, you must build positive and trusting relationships with your students. This proud experience has shown me that I’m doing something right."

This page was last updated on September 19, 2022