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Do you work with someone who is doing an amazing job and “Modeling the Way“?


Shout Out: Your Team Here

Modeling the Way is recognition for individual employees; however, we know that site or department full staff or teams often do amazing things that deserve special recognition as well.
Administrators: if your staff or team has done something exceptional …


Thank you for “Modeling the Way”

Engage.  Inspire.  Empower.

Novato Unified School District

MARCH 2019

Christina Hawkins
Christina HawkinsTeacher / Rancho
Christina has graciously taken on extra caseloads in order to ensure our students benefit from services despite a staffing shortage. She goes above and beyond each and every day to ensure the needs of all students, both general ed and special education, are met. She is a thought partner who listens and offers support when needed. She also has great intuition and can sense when listening and support is needed even when it hasn’t been sought. She considers multiple perspectives and is solution oriented with the best outcomes for stakeholders in the forefront of all decision-making processes. Christina works at multiple sites and makes every effort to align best practices (from culture to systems) among school teams. In additional to her SLP role, she works tirelessly to generate revenue through MAA and LEA billing, as well as, provide administrative leadership for NUSD’s extended school year program. As the administrative designee in my absence, she actively engages with staff and students ensuring systems run consistently, smoothly, and effectively. Christina is an invaluable member of our NUSD team and her contribution is worthy of recognition.
Stella Simon
Stella SimonTech Support Tech II / San Ramon
I wanted my students to have the opportunity to use some free software that I heard about at a tech conference. I put a help desk ticket in soon after. Stella took what was a near impossible project on and made it possible for my students to use the program. She hit several roadblocks along the way, yet she persevered until all of my classes had access. It takes remarkable drive to do what she did especially for someone who isn’t even at the school she serves.
Tracy Pickard
Tracy PickardSchool Office Manager / Loma Verde
Tracy truly embodies the C of Character. She has a heart of gold and looks at challenges through the lens of opportunities. There are over 400 students at our school but she makes an effort to learn the stories of our students so she can find ways to connect and have meaningful relationships. When she sees a student struggle for whatever reason, she makes it her mission to really get to know the child so that they feel loved. She always finds positive attributes in all students and advocates with passion for their educational and emotional needs. She offers the same type of support to staff members and parents in our community. She always engages on a personal level and offers a listening ear. Everyone at LV knows that if they reach out to Tracy for anything, she will help or find a solution. She is the first face that our LV community sees every day and she always greets everyone with warmth, positivity, and a smile!
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Tracy has the unyielding job of having to interact with everyone in our community. She is the face of our school and tries to be approachable and conscientious, and willing to hear what everyone has to say.

Tracy is always juggling tasks large and small for our community. She is a door opener and a gatekeeper at the same time – a difficult role to take on. Yet when asked to take on a task she grabs her note pad and begins adding details to her very long to do list.

Without Tracy’s willingness to support all of our community members, we could not have the community that we do at Loma Verde. Accepting, kind, yet rigorous and demanding. I appreciate seeing Tracy every day!

Mary McGurke
Mary McGurkeTeacher / Sinaloa
Mary works tirelessly to advocate for students and families who may otherwise have a hard time using their voice. She models the true meaning of providing an equitable learning experience for all students. She cares deeply for students, and molds individual lessons around the needs of her students at all levels. Mary does so much for all of the varying students she sees throughout the day, and pours love into her teaching. She has a balanced approach in her classroom in which the needs of the students always come first. I am proud to be part of a team with Mary!
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Mary is the most trustworthy, honest, and hardworking person I know. She cares about her students and does anything and everything she can to make sure they succeed. She goes above and beyond the call of duty, by having more than most on her plate on a daily basis. She teaches both English and History (8th), The 7th grade AVID class and entire period of ELD. She has the most diverse job of anyone on campus and never complains despite the hardships. She puts her whole heart into everything she does and deserves not only this recognition, but respect. She clearly models the way every day, and her students would agree. She has no secrets and wears her heart on her sleeve. I cannot think of anyone more deserving.
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Mary is a teacher who models the way for all! I have never met a more caring, dedicated teacher who spends every waking hour thinking about how to reach her students to make learning meaningful and relevant to their lives. She creates engaging lessons that not only inspire her students, but also teaches them to think critically about the world around them. Mary makes a personal connection with each individual student that walks through her door each day. Her students are drawn to her enthusiastic energy, positivity and sincerity and often times this is all students have to look forward to each day. Mary’s genuine love for her students is apparent whenever she speaks about what is best for each child and often times that means confronting practices that are outdated or conflict with those values. She spends many hours outside of school finding solutions to problems that she sees in the classroom. Mary is as much as an inspiration to her students as she is to her colleagues. I find myself drawn to her room on my prep each day to collaborate with her and to be around her inspiring energy and enthusiasm. Mary is one of the hardest workers I know and deserves this award on so many different levels. She positively influences so many lives on a daily basis and is the perfect model for colleagues and students alike!

February 2019

Grace Cosentino
Grace CosentinoTeacher / San Jose
Karen Matson
Karen MatsonTeacher / Lu Sutton
Barbara Roddie
Barbara RoddieLibrary Media Specialist / San Ramon
Juan Real
Juan RealCustodian III / Hamilton

January 2019

Debra Mattson
Debra MattsonTeacher / Lynwood
Kelly Johnson
Kelly JohnsonDirector - Special Ed / DO
Pam Baker
Pam BakerSchool Office Manager / San Ramon
Emily Cavallero
Emily CavalleroTeacher / Loma Verde

December 2018

Tiki Martin
Tiki MartinSchool Projects-Fiscal Specialist / Loma Verde
Erin Hart
Erin HartTeacher / Hamilton
Pier Rindone
Pier RindoneSpeech-Language Therapist / Ready, Set, Grow!

November 2018

Suzi Hirshfield
Suzi HirshfieldDistrict Coordinator / DO
Emma Donovan
Emma DonovanTeacher / Olive
Shannon Dugdale
Shannon DugdaleYard Supervisor / Rancho
Kris Sargent
Kris SargentTeacher / Lu Sutton

October 2018

Steve Lamott
Steve LamottTeacher / SMHS
Steve Lamott is kind and very patient with all his students. The kids adore him and many students refer to him as their favorite teacher. I observe him every day working with his students to guide and teach them to prepare them for life after high school. He is firm and sets boundaries but always let the kids know that he is in their corner and they can come to him for any extra help or support. When kids need food or bus fare he never hesitates to make sure the kids have what they need, this includes buying notebooks, pencils, and folders for every class and every student. I see him go above and beyond every day.
Miguel Rae
Miguel RaeParaeducator / Olive
Mr. Rae works with an array of students on a daily basis, each of whom have varying needs that require a very specific type/level of support. On any given day Mr. Rae will facilitate self-soothing strategies to help a student calm him/herself, modify curriculum to meet the learning style of an individual student and, most importantly, advocate for special education students so that they can reach their highest potential every day they set foot on the Olive campus. These are just several concrete examples of Mr. Rae’s professionalism and passionate approach towards helping students who receive special education services. While concrete examples of his professionalism are important, Mr. Rae also possesses many intangible qualities that truly make him an exceptional colleague to work with. You can notice his smile from miles away, his demeanor with challenging students is an innate skill that few possess, can’t be taught, and many wish to attain. Mr. Rae has it all – he’s kind, professional, humorous, and most importantly a true asset to students, staff, and the greater NUSD. NUSD (and Olive especially) is lucky to have him around!
Lisa Nyquist
Lisa NyquistTeacher / Loma Verde
Lisa is passionate about music education and helping her students to discover the best in themselves. She has created an instrument inventory system for over 200 instruments (a monumental task) and checked out all the elementary instruments to our 5th grade students across the District. Lisa is always looking for new music trainings and eager to try new things in her teaching. When she sees a way to improve something she takes action and makes the changes that need to happen. Lisa sets the bar high in terms of what she expects from herself. Her parents recently lost their home in the fire, and barely made it out alive, it was so close. Lisa only missed one day of work in spite of taking in her parents and caring for them. She truly inspires me to give more, be more kind, and make NUSD the best it can be!
Alex Kinnee
Alex KinneeTeacher / NHS
Alex is a great team player. She is a prime example of a Conscientious Learner. She is organized (she has an amazing bullet journal planner! You should check it out!), and her organization is clear in her ability to teach three preps all with very different agenda’s and needs and is able teach engaging and relevant curriculum to all of her students. She is a passionate learner herself and conveys the love of learning and helping people to her students. She teaches her students to set goals for themselves as students and as leaders. As an AVID and Link Crew teacher, she teaches her students to self-advocate for themselves as well as teaching them how to teach others to do the same (Link crew does this with their freshmen). She sets her classroom environment up to be one that students fell safe enough to discuss issues of wellness and self-care in not only one on one private conversations with her but in the overall group classroom setting. She is a great role model for students in the Conscientious Learner category.

She has incredible character. She is about the nicest teacher on our campus. She is always willing to help out and to show up for our staff and the students in whatever they may need of her. Whether it is attending a student’s game, nominating and watching her students accept their Academic Awards, or teaching 140 county-wide students from 8 schools and 6 different programs how to Country Line Dance (which she had never taught before and did a fantastic job) at the Youth Leadership Summit Overnight Retreat at Walker Creek Ranch. She is kind. She loves to honor her kids who go above and beyond, usually with recognition as well as sometimes she will bake them delicious homemade treats. She is not shy about expressing her appreciation of the people in her life.

She is Collaborative. She is always willing to help as stated above. She will work with anyone to help improve the school. She has stepped up to help us create a user friendly, visually pleasing Graduate Portfolio, Defense to roll out to our students. She will film silly videos to help educate our students on the 6 C’s, she works with her fellow history teachers as well as cross-curricular teachers to create common assessments and common capstone projects. Her Link Crew class is all about collaboration as she is the lead teacher but she collaborates with several other staff members to deliver the Orientation to all incoming freshmen, she works with the Health and CCR teachers to have the LINK Crew kids deliver lessons in their classes to ensure that the freshmen have the best opportunity for success in their transition to high school.

September 2018

Mary Pozzi
Mary PozziTeacher / San Jose
Christy Stocker
Christy StockerAssistant Principal / NHS
Julie Spaan
Julie SpaanSchool Office Manager / PV
Wes Swedlow
Wes SwedlowTeacher / SMHS

May 2018

Lisa Ferrigno
Lisa FerrignoSchool Account Clerk / SMHS
Heidi Joseph
Heidi JosephTK/K Teacher / Lu Sutton
Brenda Pfeifer
Brenda Pfeifer5th Grade Teacher / Loma Verde
Whitney McEachern
Whitney McEachernCore-AVID Teacher / San Jose

April 2018

Roberto Cordoba
Roberto CordobaCustodian / Olive
Diane Elsmore
Diane ElsmoreTeacher / San Ramon
Arthur Mendonca
Arthur MendoncaCustodian / Hill Center
Ben Knudson
Ben KnudsonTeacher / NHS

March 2018

Anna McGee
Anna McGeeCounselor / Novato Adult School
Catherine Nam
Catherine NamInstructional Coach / District Office
Teri Wack
Teri WackParaeducator / Lu Sutton
Alison McMorrow
Alison McMorrowTeacher / Loma Verde

February 2018

Judge Taylor
Judge TaylorFacilities & Custodial Supervisor / District Office
Bob Lacy
Bob LacyTeacher / SMHS
Jazmin Babendir
Jazmin BabendirCommunity Liaison / Lynwood
Kaila Budwell
Kaila BudwellTeacher / NHS

January 2018

Amanda Langford
Amanda LangfordPrincipal / San Ramon
Mary O'Keeffe
Mary O'KeeffeSchool Office Manager / Sinaloa
Carrie Lucia
Carrie LuciaParaeducator / SMHS
Marion Hickman
Marion HickmanTeacher / Hamilton

December 2017

Craig Lubey
Craig LubeyStudent Data Sys Spc / District Office
Carolyn Tagliaferri
Carolyn TagliaferriTeacher - RSP / Olive
John Matern
John MaternTeacher / Marin Oaks
Jennifer Boutet
Jennifer BoutetLibrary Media Specialist / Loma Verde

November 2017

Cindy Klinkman
Cindy KlinkmanInstructional Coach / District Office
Damaris Caro
Damaris CaroCommunity Liaison / Hamilton School
Irma Manion
Irma ManionFirst Grade Teacher / Loma Verde
Terrie Baum
Terrie BaumCounseling Technician / NHS

October 2017

Amber Hatfield
Amber HatfieldInstructional Coach / District Office
Sierra Cubley-DeBruin
Sierra Cubley-DeBruinOffice Manager / Lynwood
Stephanie Searle
Stephanie SearleTeacher / NHS
Erik Briggs
Erik BriggsTech Support Tech II / San Jose

September 2017

Carole Mencarelli
Carole MencarelliOffice Manager / Rancho
Yvette Garcia
Yvette GarciaRSP Teacher & RSG Coordinator / Rancho
Greg Fister
Greg FisterAssistant Principal / NHS
Marcia Carey
Marcia CareyAdmin Asst III / Student Services

August 2017

Darian Raras
Darian RarasParaeducator / Hamilton
Dana Luis
Dana LuisTech Support Tech II / Olive
Laura Triantafyllos
Laura TriantafyllosCounselor / SMHS
Lisa Heslip
Lisa Heslip1st Grade Teacher / Pleasant Valley

May 2017

Amy Ferhart
Amy FerhartIndependent Study Teacher / NOVA @ Hill
Gina Proffitt
Gina ProffittProgram Specialist / FANS @ Lynwood
Julie Spaan
Julie SpaanOffice Manager / Pleasant Valley
Mariah Fisher
Mariah FisherMusic Teacher / San Jose Middle School

April 2017

Dana Sarubbi
Dana SarubbiBenefits Specialist / District Office
Heather Geraci
Heather GeraciParaeducator - RSP / Early Intervention @ Hill
Marie McMahon
Marie McMahonCounselor / NHS
Theresa Cook
Theresa CookTech Support Tech II / Lynwood

March 2017

Digna Rojas
Digna Rojas3rd Grade Teacher / Lynwood
Erin Cilia
Erin CiliaFood Service Site Manager / San Jose
Vivian Lee
Vivian LeeMath Teacher / Sinaloa
Karin Jinbo
Karin JinboCoordinator of Behavioral Health / DO

February 2017

Christine Bok-Osborne
Christine Bok-OsborneFood Service Site Manager / Hamilton
Michelle Drake
Michelle DrakeFourth Grade Teacher / Lu Sutton
Glenn Dal Poggetto
Glenn Dal PoggettoSDC/Resource Teacher / SMHS
Hassan Fathi
Hassan FathiTech II / NHS

January 2017

Elizabeth Vega
Elizabeth VegaTeacher / Loma Verde
Ernesto Zamorano
Ernesto ZamoranoCustodian III / NHS
Sara Davis
Sara DavisMath Teacher / SMHS
Allison McIvor
Allison McIvorMusic Teacher / SMHS

December 2016

Jeff Packman
Jeff PackmanLeadership / PE Teacher Marin Oaks / Nexus
Arezu Iranipour
Arezu IranipourSchool Psychologist Novato High School
Alex Perez
Alex PerezData System Supervisor IT, District Office
Joanne Briggs
Joanne BriggsFinancial System Specialist - IT, DO

November 2016

Mark Silva
Mark SilvaDirector - Maintenance, Operations & Transportation
Amanda Davis
Amanda Davis5th Grade Teacher - Pleasant Valley Elementary
Peter Ornstein
Peter OrnsteinCinematic Arts Teacher, MSA Director - Novato High School
Mary Pozzi
Mary PozziLA / SS Teacher - San Jose Middle School
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Kris Cosca
Kris CoscaDeputy Superintendent - Human Resources & Strategic Development
“Our employees are our GREATEST asset!”


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