RAVE Nominees 2021
Taylor Springsdorff, Teacher, Alvarado Elementary School
"Taylor is an outstanding teacher who cares deeply for his students and the school community. He gives 100 percent every day so that the multiply-impaired students in his class can thrive and grow. He is a kind, patient teacher. He is competent and thoroughly professional in his interactions with colleagues and parents. He has spent hundreds of hours designing materials and adapting and modifying literacy instruction to make it multi-sensory and accessible to all of his students, regardless of their disabilities. As a result, they are demonstrating increased engagement and participation. Taylor's job is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, but he handles it with a calm demeanor and a great attitude."-Nominated 11/2021.
Rene Mitsui, Teacher, Dianne Feinstein Elementary School
"Rene is kind, caring, passionate, dedicated to her work, and always brings 110% every day. She is hard-working, empathetic, and truly models the values of SFUSD. Rene is a leader for her class and grade level team, she works toward ensuring the group is heard and always meets the needs of her students. She goes above and beyond in everything she does. She always has the betterment of the students in mind. She is gracious, a team player, and a go-getter. Rene implemented a grade-level story writing curriculum because she knew it would better serve her colleagues and students. When other teachers need advice, guidance, or assistance, Rene is the first person to help."-Nominated 11/2021.
Kelly Tran, Special Education Teacher, George Washington High School
"Kelley is a 2nd-year teacher, still in her credential program, who goes above and beyond for her students and colleagues despite the enormous demands on her time. Kelley is completely devoted to supporting students and goes out of her way to do so. She regularly collaborates with colleagues to improve her teaching practice. Ms. Tran took it upon herself to coordinate setting up a set of IEP goals for our department to pull from to adjust for students with IEPs enrolled in the general education Algebra and Geometry classes. This resource will help members of our department who do not teach these subjects to select more effective and relevant IEP goals for students. She is a fabulous and caring colleague who works to support her peers both in and out of our department. If a student on your caseload is struggling, especially with math, Kelley will volunteer to support them and you towards success!"-Nominated 11/2021.
Nina Schield, Teacher, Rooftop Elementary School
"Nina is an out-of-the-box thinker, student-centered, a great collaborator, and open to new ideas & problem-solving. Ms. Nina created a literacy-based digital reading room where students could read at individual levels, respond to reading and even post their own writing to share with the class. This created a learning environment where students continued the writing/reading conversations with decreasing scaffolding from the teacher. She also taught other staff how to make such a webpage and shared ideas of how to use it in various grades and subjects. Nina is always student-centered and works tirelessly to meet her students where they are; she uses literacy as a vehicle to motivate, drive content instruction and push students to self-monitor for meaning and construct their own conceptual understandings."-Nominated 11/2021.
Juan Lopez, Teacher, Lowell High School
"Juan always gives back to his students, school, and colleagues. He has such a calming presence and makes everyone around him feel better. He also teaches his classes with creativity, kindness, and enthusiasm. He sets the bar for our whole department. He has so much compassion for others. He is always ready to listen and be with students and teachers in need. He has a way of making everyone he talks to feel better and more confident. His kindness is contagious! During the return to in-person teaching, Juan has tirelessly been a confidant when needed, but also a cheerleader. His passion for teaching comes out in every conversation. Seriously, this man is like a saint. He makes us all want to be better teachers."-Nominated 11/2021.
Cathy Giovannelli, Teacher, Jefferson Elementary School
"During "zoom school" last year, Ms. G was always prepared, available, organized, and responsive to children and parents' needs. Her classroom management over zoom was spectacular. She was able to build supportive relationships with students and families and push students to strive for their greatest potential even over zoom. An amazing professional! Her authenticity in caring for children is admirable. We had our child evaluated during zoom school and she was always professional and dedicated to supporting them and our family during this ongoing process. She was readily available for questions and navigated us through the process seamlessly over zoom. We had arranged for occasional classroom playdates at GG Park and Ms. G would also be included and when possible stop by to say hello in person (and masked). She is so loved by her students and families."-Nominated 11/2021.
Celia Yu, Secretary - Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila
"She is the heartbeat of the school. Celia greets everyone with a smile and always has a positive attitude. In addition to a tremendous amount of administrative duties, she goes above and beyond her call of duty to help out in any given situation. Celia's dedication to her job and how much she enjoys the work shows through her constant display of passion, empathy, and patience towards the students, parents, and staff on a daily basis. Celia is often the translator of important school-side announcements, student performance events, and gala fundraising since she is fluent in both English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. With her background in education as a former preschool teacher, she has extraordinary patience with all the students. She knows the school inside and out and can remember everyone's name. Kids feel comfortable with Celia and know that she will take care of them." Nominated 10/2021, 11/2021)
Draven Lee, Teacher, Grattan Elementary School
"Mr. Draven is the best teacher. This is his first year teaching fourth and fifth grade, but his eleventh year as a teacher at SFUSD. I think that I can call him one of the best teachers I've ever had. When I was in 3rd Grade, my best friend had Mr. Draven as her teacher. Even though I was happy with my own teacher, I thought "Oh, too bad I can't have both. I would spend 6 more hours at school if it meant I could have both!". And now, two years later, he became a 4/5 teacher and I have him. Mr. Draven trusts us more than most teachers. Every week, jobs rotate and three or four kids are given the task of being Supreme Court Justices to remind people to follow the rules. When we need new rules, he asks us for ideas and sometimes lets us vote. He's also very patient. He's teaching us to be patient too, by doing yoga and mediation almost every day, which makes us calmer, more patient and helps us concentrate."-Nominated 10/2021.
Jacqueline Fix, LEAD Program Administrator, Central Office
"Jackie has been supporting Visitacion Valley Middle School, while also supporting the Middle Schools LEAD Team. She was doing two jobs, while also launching the year as Acting Principal. She has held down two jobs in a year of re-opening schools. She has selflessly done whatever it takes for the Middle Schools Division, while also supporting as an amazing instructional leader at VVMS. Jackie is flexible, driven, empathetic, and always supportive. She has made an incredible impact on me as an Assistant Principal new to the district. Jackie is the embodiment of an equity-driven and focused leader within SFUSD. We all can learn a lot from her. She will do whatever it takes in any situation to support the development of adult learners in support of deeper learning in the classroom."-Nominated 10/2021.
Rocio Soto, Family Liason, James Denman Middle School
"Ms.Soto goes above and beyond her job responsibilities to support our students, teachers, and families. She is essential not only in her role to our school as a Family Liaison but never hesitates to help any student, colleague, former students, or siblings who attend other schools! Ms. Soto is always committed to our students and families and keeps equity at the center. Ms.Soto is a true team player who does everything she can to support our school community. She always makes time, despite her busy schedule, to ensure that all Denman families are able to access school information. With staff, Ms.Soto is always willing to lend a listening ear or share a laugh."-Nominated 09/2021.
Josh Davidson, Chef, McAteer High School Kitchen
"Josh is one of the most accommodating, student-centered people I have come across in SFUSD. He has spent the pandemic ensuring that thousands of folks have access to nutritious meals. He works tirelessly to feed the 1,100 students who call our campus "school" and never shies away from a challenge. Diabetic? No problem. Celiac? Call Josh. He ensures everyone gets what they need in an inclusive and welcoming manner. We are so lucky to have Josh in SFUSD. Josh spends his days cooking for McAteer kids, but ALSO programs throughout the district. He is passionate about nutrition for all and has worked with several families to accommodate dietary restrictions so students may eat without stigma, alongside their peers. This year already he has developed at least three separate meal plans carefully in concert with family members."-Nominated 08/2021.
Alicia Jones, Parent and Community Coordinator, Educational Placement Center
"I have had the pleasure of working with Alicia Jones for over 3 years. Her kindness, knowledge, and professionalism are remarkable. She is amazing and supportive. Too often we hear only negative remarks about employees so I wanted to reach out to you about Alicia's positive impact on this community. She has worked 3 long years to find the best educational placement for my son. She is supportive, real and personable, and hopeful which was an exceptional gift during COVID’s negative impact on children and their schools. Thank you, Alicia!"-Nominated 06/2021.
Nadir Del Toro Solis, Human Resources Analyst, Central Office
"Without Nadir, summer in SFUSD would not have happened. Ms. Del Toro Solis worked ENDLESSLY and always with a smile to make sure over 800 interns and over 1,000 SFUSD staff were hired, placed, and recruited for Summer 2021. Nadir remained positive during any challenging moment and went above and beyond for Summer staffing. This summer is the largest in memory for SFUSD and Nadir made it happen even during a change in human resources platforms. Ms. Del Toro Solis is always positive and is an exemplary staff member. Due to many factors, SFUSD had a short turnaround period for summer posting, recruiting, and hiring and Ms. Del Toro Solis worked day and night to make it happen, thus over 16,000 students were able to be enrolled this summer."-Nominated 06/2021.
Joseph Bly, Teacher, SF Montessori School
"When the pandemic hit, Mr. Joe was partway in his first year teaching. He showed leadership, strength, caring, and creativity. When the shutdown occurred on 3/13/20, he was already strategizing how to pivot to distance learning, get technology in students’ hands who didn’t have it, and help other classrooms do the same. Online classes started on that first Monday and didn’t miss a beat. Pandemic schooling has not been easy, but Joe ensured that all students stayed connected to the learning community. Families were communicated with compassion and understanding of the varied positions they find themselves in. He is a true teacher leader. At the height of the pandemic, students were stressed. Anxiety and uncertainty were high. The curriculum was not working for everyone. Mr. Joe dug deeper, taking a hard look at the class dynamics. He asked students to reflect on their learning and what was working and what was not. As a group, they assessed and recalibrated, focusing on social and emotional learning and building up their sense of community. After this stage, I know my daughter’s engagement in learning increased dramatically and she was excited to do online school."-Nominated 06/2021.
Carmen Merced, Paraprofessional, Lakeshore Elementary School
"Ms. Carmen has helped us all year with distance learning. She has been kind and supportive and helpful for all of the students in our classroom and we are so grateful to her! She is caring, helpful, knowledgeable, and creative. Ms. Carmen has helped our students with reading and has engaged them in talking about what they read with each other and with her."-Nominated 05/2021.
Marilyn Dunn, Secretary, SF Public Montessori School
"Marilyn is an exceptional secretary for our Pre K-5 site. She always puts families first and is welcoming to all families. She makes sure they have what they need to be successful. It is a scary time for new families, especially Pre-K families, but Marlyn puts them at ease with her wit and funny sense of humor. Families love Marilyn. She has an answer to every question and if she doesn't have the answer, she finds it for them. During the pandemic, she never stopped or slowed down. She checked out laptops, answered phone calls, delivered supplies to families if needed, assisted with the family wellness checks, made calls to remind families to complete a survey that we wanted feedback around. Before the pandemic hit, she got training around SPIRE reading intervention so that she was able to work with a small group of students in K/1 to improve their reading skills!."-Nominated 05/2021.
Amadis Velez, Teacher, Mission High School
"Amadis goes above and beyond for his students to ensure their best shot at making it into a university. He is encouraging, caring, invested, expert, tenacious, committed, likable, and connects to each student. Mr. Velez took the time to listen to my daughter's story. He got to know her as a student and a person. He listened to her family history. He helped my daughter see herself as someone with intelligence, perseverance, and resilience. He encouraged her to be herself as a student that any university would be lucky to have her attend their school as opposed to being lucky to get into college. He cheered her while still giving her constructive feedback on her essays. He helped her narrow down which universities would best suit her dreams and aspirations for her future. He helped her navigate a world of FAFSA documents, university applications, and financial aid forms. Mr. Velez truly excels as a teacher by teaching his students with caring, high expectations, and sharing his expertise."-Nominated 04/2021.
Karina Garcia, Chelsea Soulsby, Latrice Simmons, Julia Gelormino, and Sam Trent, Instructional Leadership Team, George Washington Carver Elementary School
"This Instructional Leadership Team is a high-functioning, equity-focused team that has designed a high-quality PD series around student engagement in distance learning. The Instructional Leadership Team worked together to identify a gap that we could close in the virtual student experience. They identified student engagement as a piece to zone in on and explore. The PD series was very well received by the larger teaching team and contributed to gains in student attendance, engagement, and academic ownership. The team's positive qualities include a deep sense of purpose and connectedness to our school’s vision and mission, a great sense of collaboration and shared leadership, as well as a commitment and follow-through in achieving shared objectives and program goals."-Nominated 04/2021.
Ralf Reclosado, Business Analyst, Communications, Central Office
"Ralf went above and beyond to help Rooftop with getting its website ready for reopening in April. Ralf met with me, listened to what we needed, and then took the initiative to help us with the website. He takes initiative, follows through, and produced accurate work. We just want to appreciate him for his hard work and follow-through."-Nominated 04/2021.
Lynn Stewart, Teacher, Grattan Elementary School
"She has done an outstanding job engaging and teaching even amid COVID. Lynn is keeping the bar high; engaging students in Zoom and classwork; treating the kids with dignity and with a growth mindset. After the first week of school closures in 2020, Ms. Stewart had 21 of 22 students engaged in daily Zoom meetings. She kept believing in students, helping them overcome barriers and adjust to new conditions. My son entered Ms. Stewart's 4/5 mixed class in the fall of 2019. From the start she was organized, clear, motivating, and treated kids with dignity. My son is a struggling student and has blossomed under Ms. Stewart's teaching. We are forever grateful!"-Nominated 03/2021.
Tai-Sun Shoeman, Principal, A.P. Giannini Middle School
"Mr. Shoeman is the principal of an outstanding school. During the past three years that my son has attended A.P. Giannini, the school has been incredibly organized and results-driven. Under Tai-Sun Shoeman's remarkable leadership, the school's student-success culture permeates the organization at every level. Giannini's kindness and inclusiveness is remarkable especially for an organization of its size and in such a climate of upheaval. Shoeman is a fantastic role model and leader. Every step of the way Giannini has been laser-focused on student success; in spite of the school size and modest PTA funding, it is far more effective and inclusive than other schools I've experienced. During poignant moments, Shoeman has had a light touch in communication that helps transcend difficulties and bond the community."-Nominated 03/2021.
Anita and Edwin Lee Newcomer Team, Anita and Edwin Lee Newcomer School
"My husband and I recently adopted two boys. Their teachers, principal, and staff welcomed our two sons with open arms and took their time to check-in with us whenever we need support. At first, I was surprised how well my sons adapted into the DL class especially coming into a new family and country. However, after observing how much care the teachers and staff took my sons in, I realize they made my sons feel safe and secure. During distance learning, the team at Lee Newcomer school work beyond our expectations including monthly support parent meetings, individualized attention to students if they need more support, and consistent check-ins with families and students. I can see that the team collaborates and works well with each other with the purpose of helping their students succeed. They show love and enjoyment through their meaningful lessons and activities. I cannot ask for a better support team for my sons than them. All the families and students are transitioning from another country in addition to dealing with shelter-in-place and distance learning which is new to them. The team has done an amazing job in helping us through this transition. It's a really special community that I am fortunate to be in."-Nominated 03/2021.
Sue Mocklin, Teacher, Rooftop PK-8 School
"Ms. Mocklin sees the cup half full and values relationships. She treats her families, students, and co-workers with respect and kindness. She exudes flexibility and grace with everything that she does. The pandemic has been really tough for our least advantaged families. Before school started, Ms. Mocklin worked with her teaching partner to meet families in the Bayview to distribute materials. She also does home visits and wellness checks before it became a formal thing in the District. She went out of her way to start a STEM club and brought in guest engineers to engage with students and meet with them. She attacks everything she does with childlike enthusiasm and energy! Ms. Mocklin is the most welcoming and positive presence for our 5th graders on our upper campus."-Nominated 03/2021.
Anthony Kuan, IT Operations support admin III, Department of Technology
"Anthony is a joy to work with. He is knowledgeable, has expertise in computers, and is exceedingly responsible and flexible. Anthony is a thoughtful and creative problem solver who takes his role in supporting our technology infrastructure very seriously. He is flexible and kind and has a great sense of humor. He even follows up afterward to ensure the job is done and complete to my satisfaction. He excels in services and professionalism. He takes his job seriously and displays qualities and characteristics for all of us to follow. Over the past six years in SFUSD, I've had numerous technology support needs, and Anthony has been consistently dependable support."-Nominated 03/2021
Eve King, Activities Director, The Academy San Francisco @ McAteer
"Eve King is without a doubt one of the brightest, kindest, most resourceful, and indispensable employees in SFUSD. Regardless of the countless dreams that she helped fulfill with students in previous years, Eve has carried our school community above and beyond expectations since last March. Whether through the production of monthly assemblies and shows, student council and club leadership, management of our incredible social media account, class overnights, game nights, all of the continuous cultural touchstones that she creates, and even as a huge Wolves athletics' supporter, Eve is a star in San Francisco. Academy is incredibly lucky to have her as a role model, team member, and leader. Eve works with every student on achieving their individual, team, club, cultural, and community dreams. Her leadership and positivity in a pandemic (!) stand out among all of her peers. She is the heart and soul of the Academy."-Nominated 3/2021.
Cobb Anti-Racist Task Force: Michelle Williams, Marikah Burnett, Sophia Suzuki-Jones, Mary Fobbs-Guillory, Alexandra Snell, and Bonita Greene, Instructional Aide, Teacher, Teacher, Librarian, Literary Coach, Teacher, Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary School
"This team was organized organically among the staff to create a constant lens on how we can both envision and create an anti-racist school. It meets weekly to take action on matters that uphold the principle that being anti-racist is an active endeavor that requires constant focus and deed. They see their work as ongoing and have become an integral part of our professional development and community connection initiatives. They are steadfast in their determination to support a transformative mindset at Cobb. They are deeply respected among the community for their ability to motivate, challenge and expand the thinking of our staff in order to advance our school-wide goals. The Team reimagined our Black History Month as a daily celebration of Black history, achievement, and joy."-Nominated 3/2021.
John Muir Kindergarten Team: Maiya Coilton and Robert Stewart, Teachers, John Muir Elementary School
"Maiya and Robert show teamwork, enthusiasm, kindness, joy, and inclusion. They have gone above and beyond to include all students and to make this year special. This team teaches different subjects with joy and enthusiasm. Having routine during a pandemic is so important to young kids and they have it down so well. My child feels loved, included, and excited to go on Zoom every day. That is a huge deal."-Nominated 2/2021.
Susan Woo, Teacher, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School
"Ms. Woo is an amazing teacher who has worked hard to overcome obstacles to distance learning. She is cheerful, resourceful, kind, caring, supportive, understanding, creative, hilarious, persistent, practical, and fun. Ms. Woo has done several DonorsChoose proposals and individual materials drop-offs to make sure that her students have what they need to be successful at home. She is also understanding and caring and works with each family to help each student in her class succeed. I am impressed every day with how Ms. Woo supports her students and encourages them to do their best."-Nominated 2/2021.
Jenna Ornbaum, Teacher, Presidio Early Elementary School
"She’s the sweetest, most helpful, and responsive SFUSD faculty member. Jenna is helpful, kind, calm, responsive, loving, funny, and smart. She's helped us navigate many challenges."-Nominated 2/2021.
Bridget Lind, Bilingual Teacher, Presidio Early Elementary School
"She’s a wonderful teacher and is always open to feedback and improvements. She is responsive, organized, funny, and kind. I asked her for some resources and help and she responded immediately."-Nominated 2/2021.
Jennifer Lu, Bilingual Teacher, Monroe Elementary School
"She is positive and consistent. She connects with the students and keeps them engaged and progressing with their education. She has kept my child engaged and excited about learning through distance learning. My son only has access to Spanish when he is on Zoom with his teacher yet he is reading in Spanish at a second-grade level. That tells me she is doing something very right. Even though he misses his friends he hasn’t lost his love of learning. She does all of this with two school-aged children of her own at home with her during all of this."-Nominated 2/2021.
Heidi Meyers, Teacher, Monroe Elementary School
"Ms. Meyers has done a wonderful job with Zoom in first grade. She is well organized and hasn't missed one Zoom session. Our class has almost perfect attendance because she does a great job engaging them. She provides feedback on every assignment we send her and really encourages the kids. She sent our son a postcard over Christmas break, she put together wonderful materials for them including seeds and everything they need to plant them, and she helped us figure out some extra math work for my son."-Nominated 2/2021.
Sara Dunn, Teacher, Monroe Elementary School
"Sara is a wonderful teacher. She made distance learning at the end of last year work even in the most challenging circumstances, she sent the kids letters and stickers in the mail, and was always available. In-person she was amazing, taking them on field trips and connecting them with their 5th grade buddies. My son started barely writing his name and left reading 3rd grade level chapter books."-Nominated 2/2021.
Brian Chang, Teacher, Roosevelt Middle School
"Mr. Chang has gone above & beyond in his service in providing quality education to his students over the years. He goes that extra mile in ensuring his students reach their maximum potential. As a dedicated educator and peer teacher mentor, his work does not go unnoticed. Mr. Chang spends countless hours dedicated to preparing thoughtful lesson plans that help students learn life lessons in PE. He also spends countless hours helping coach and mentor other new teachers. He is a teacher that gives his “all” and is passionate about his career. He is passionate about ensuring his students learn the importance of physical activity which will help them throughout their lives. Mr. Chang has been a physical education teacher at Roosevelt for over 20 years and not only gives his “all” every day, but he also gives his soul."-Nominated 2/2021.
Michael Meneses, Teacher, Presidio Middle School
"He has shown exemplary leadership through his empathy, encouragement, vulnerability, and positive attitude during Distance Learning. Michael is recognized for his amazing commitment, his kindness, and the positive impact he has each day on our kids. During these months when so many of us have been locked inside and sedentary, Mr. Meneses has admitted that he, too, has struggled with moving enough and staying healthy. But to combat emotional and physical atrophy that so many of our kids are feeling, he talks the talk, AND walks the walk! Through his perseverance and modeling behavior, our kids have been able to watch his physical health improve and see the real-time value of goal-setting, grit, and supporting one another. Michael is recognized for his amazing commitment, his kindness, and the positive impact he has each day on our kids. He not only teaches kinesthetic skills, but he also helps build character through the teaching of goal setting, and positive self-esteem with his encouragement and never-failing kindness."-Nominated 2/2021.
Raquel Wells, Kashina Turner Pierce, Jeff Kang, Stephen Kesel, and Christina Wong, Student and Family Resource Link Admin Team, Central Office
"This team responded to a very dire and urgent need to support and serve families at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They built a team, configured a system, and launched a public-facing tool serving hundreds of families each and every day from essentially nothing. Because of their efforts, we now have the seed of a system that not only is responsive to needs, but we also have a broader group of stakeholders in SFUSD who have seen what it looks like to collaborate across departments and teams, to pull together, and to learn completely new tools and systems. They stepped into a completely unknown area and were relentless in getting it moving. They created trust and connections with other teams and departments to create a common language, standards, and a system - necessary to deliver this service. They have tirelessly worked to maintain this system in addition to their regular duties."-Nominated 1/2021.
Anthony Kuan, Support Technician, Department of Technology
"Anthony is a joy to work with. He is exceedingly responsive and flexible. He exemplifies the standard of customer service for which we strive as a district. He is a thoughtful and creative problem solver who takes his role in supporting our technology infrastructure very seriously. He is flexible and kind and has a great sense of humor. Over the past 6 years in SFUSD, I've had numerous technology support needs, and Anthony has been consistently dependable support."-Nominated 1/2021.
Gabrielle Theobald-Anderson, Social Worker, Hillcrest Elementary School
"Gabrielle goes above and beyond in everything she does. She gets things done in the most humble way. There are so many examples of what she does for our school including writing many grants for our community school and coordinated more than 60 families to get meals delivered weekly."-Nominated 1/2021.
This page was last updated on September 15, 2022