Before school began in August, there was one individual that was behind the scenes prepping for a Federal Programs Monitoring (FPM) that our school district was about to endure. That hardworking individual was Suzanne “Suzi” Hirshfield who is the District Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability. Federal and state laws require the California Department of Education (CDE) to monitor implementation of categorical programs operated by school districts. We are responsible for creating and maintaining these programs. Every four years, the CDE comes to our district and this year picked Novato High School, San Jose Intermediate, and Lynwood Elementary to sample audit their specialized programs along with Marin Oaks High School and Hamilton Meadow Park. If you notice…the first three schools, named above, have new administration teams and the district office went through a major reorganization. So basically, we looked like deer in the headlights when she told us that the feds were coming to audit us. Suzi was our collaborative leader and guide through the unknown. She provided clear communication and schedules for the schools and the district office to follow. When we were unclear about parameters and evidence, she was the conscientious learner that sifted through the government guidelines to help us to the finish line. Suzi was instrumental in leading us to be critical thinkers and to understand our specialized programs and policies. Suzi modes the way every day. She is behind the scenes helping us be better leaders an educators.
Emma DonovanTeacher / Olive
Emma is an amazing teacher and makes all her kids feel loved as they enter school for the first time. She is creative, nurturing, and calm always! She is also our P3 liaison and has been helping with so many aspects of making our school a better place. She leads our equity team, SST meetings, and Saturday school. She always comes dressed in theme to keep the kids engaged! Emma makes sure all kids love learning and helps them mature into great kids. ——————————————- Emma has always been a huge support to all of our staff. She took on the P3 coordinator position this year not knowing how much she would have to handle with Elizabeth being out for a bit. Emma has been organized, thorough, consistent, and supportive through this whole process. We all appreciate the hard work she puts into everything she does. As a teacher. Emma is always searching out new ways to bring curriculum and standards to her students. She is prepared everyday with fun and exciting lessons for her class. Her students love her and look forward to seeing her!
Shannon DugdaleYard Supervisor / Rancho
Shannon is a dedicated playground supervisor. She is a firm supervisor, but still manages to be a warm shoulder to cry on. Shannon offers clear solutions to problems on the yard and is willing to try new strategies with the students. It is a pleasure to work with Shannon.
Kris SargentTeacher / Lu Sutton
Kris is unbelievably helpful and supportive of all students and staff at Lu Sutton. She always has a positive attitude and willing to help anybody at any time. She is clearly passionate about the Lu Sutton community and goes out of her way to make people feel important and to help keep our school looking nice. She is creative and innovative, and offers her students unique and interesting experiences.
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 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 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 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.
Mary PozziTeacher / San Jose
Christy StockerAssistant Principal / NHS
Julie SpaanSchool Office Manager / PV
Wes SwedlowTeacher / SMHS
Lisa FerrignoSchool Account Clerk / SMHS
Heidi JosephTK/K Teacher / Lu Sutton
Brenda Pfeifer5th Grade Teacher / Loma Verde
Whitney McEachernCore-AVID Teacher / San Jose
Roberto CordobaCustodian / Olive
Diane ElsmoreTeacher / San Ramon
Arthur MendoncaCustodian / Hill Center
Ben KnudsonTeacher / NHS
Anna McGeeCounselor / Novato Adult School
Catherine NamInstructional Coach / District Office
Teri WackParaeducator / Lu Sutton
Alison McMorrowTeacher / Loma Verde
Judge TaylorFacilities & Custodial Supervisor / District Office
Bob LacyTeacher / SMHS
Jazmin BabendirCommunity Liaison / Lynwood
Kaila BudwellTeacher / NHS
Amanda LangfordPrincipal / San Ramon
Mary O'KeeffeSchool Office Manager / Sinaloa
Carrie LuciaParaeducator / SMHS
Marion HickmanTeacher / Hamilton
Craig LubeyStudent Data Sys Spc / District Office
Carolyn TagliaferriTeacher - RSP / Olive
John MaternTeacher / Marin Oaks
Jennifer BoutetLibrary Media Specialist / Loma Verde
Cindy KlinkmanInstructional Coach / District Office
Damaris CaroCommunity Liaison / Hamilton School
Irma ManionFirst Grade Teacher / Loma Verde
Terrie BaumCounseling Technician / NHS
Amber HatfieldInstructional Coach / District Office