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

Shout Out: 
"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


Melissa Duggan
Melissa DugganBond Project Coordinator / DO
Melissa is an exemplary employee, not only for the Bond Program, but for the entire District as well. There are many examples and stories that demonstrate her outstanding performance, but I want to focus on her tremendous collaboration. The Bond Program impacts every District site and just about every student, teacher and staff employee as well. Since she was hired as the Bond Project Coordinator, Melissa has always focused on one simple theme, "How Can I Make It Better." Driven by this vision, Melissa is constantly making improvements to the many aspects of the Bond Program, including public outreach, project updates, financial management and audit compliance as examples. However, there is one constant in all of her efforts - collaboration. The Bond program would not be as successful as it is without Melissa and her unparalleled collaboration. On any given work day, she will coordinate a myriad of items with architects, construction contractors, NUSD's construction management consultant, site staff, district staff, potential contractors, legal firms, Novato residents, the Bond Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC), suppliers and state agencies. She is always communicating to advance Bond projects and all of the logistics associated with them.

A prime example is when she proposed the use of a new financial management system to better track all of the Bond and facilities projects. Melissa inherited a large excel spreadsheet as the financial ledger to track Bond projects for audit compliance. After a year or so of this inefficient and laborious method, she started talking to the business staff and other school districts to find out other options for improved data tracking. She also contacted several vendors and arranged for program demonstrations at the DO to determine viability with Business staff. After a lot of research and demonstrations, Melissa was responsible for selecting a great financial program (Account-Ability) that will not only expertly track all Bond financial transactions, but provide a tremendous database of project information. She worked diligently with the Business Department to ensure this program did not cause any additional work or conflict with current standard operating procedures; she even had the Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations attend the training to address any programmatic concerns. Melissa worked tirelessly to make this much needed and welcome improvement to the Bond program through superior collaboration with customers, co-workers, vendors, consultants and senior staff. This herculean effort resulted in a more efficient and effective method of tracking Bond financials, while greatly expanding project data tracking and management to support ICOC and Board reports. I wanted to publicly recognize her success and let others know of her superb collaboration by nominating Melissa for a well-deserved "Modeling the Way" award!

Caroline Purtell
Caroline PurtellSchool Office Manager / NHS
Caroline is not only the office manager, she is the receptionist at NHS. She greets, welcomes and gives direction all visitors to the school and she always does this with a smile and caring attitude. Parents regularly comment to me how friendly and helpful she is when they enter the office. She has also received numerous thank you cards and small gifts of appreciation from parents throughout the year. The fact that she completes all of her work with the continuous interruptions and always greets people with a smile is a positive model for students and staff. She also supports our entire staff with the same positive attitude.

Caroline sure knows how to handle many situations with students, parents and staff. She is a total Critical Thinker and analysis each incident or situation and takes care of or redirects them to the correct person. She takes care of these students as if they were her own. She relates to the parents because she is the mother of 4 and has already gone where they are going so her insight and experience really calms down the parent and with the Staff she does a phenomenal job working as the "Team Captain".
She has really changed this school around. In every way following all 6 C's. To many stories to mention! She is the most involved Office Manager I have ever been associated with.

Melanie Gutierrez
Melanie GutierrezTeacher / Lynwood
Melanie models the way as an Innovator in delivering curriculum and as a Pioneer in implementing the Dual Immersion Spanish/English program.

Melanie is a particularly caring and thoughtful leader. She always monitors her colleagues and provides the extra support and TLC just when it is needed. She brings a sense of calm and keeps us all on track toward making steady progress. While everyone is focused on meeting program milestones, Melanie can be counted on to keep track of the details that are necessary to keep us organized and on track. Everyone on our staff and our parents love Mel for all her thoughtfulness, for being an innovator and for all she does to support Lynwood Community activities.

Robin Nosti
Robin NostiTeacher / Olive
Robin is such an asset to our school. Her knowledge and coordination of the garden make our school a unique place for classes and families to come together. She has worked tirelessly to take our student body's knowledge of botany, ecology, and nature to the next level. Students in her class participate in "Junior Botany" where they learn different types of plants. Robin instills a respect and awe of nature in her students. They understand how their role in our planet and that they have a lot of responsibility as a citizen of earth. Students come out of her class understanding of their impact on the environment and how they can make a difference.

As if that isn't enough, Robin truly puts the Art in STEAM. She introduces her class to famous artists and they do intricate art projects. The students learn about the artists' life, how they made their art and why it is important. The students then have beautiful masterpieces to show off. The students grow an understanding of art and the process around it.

In addition to all of this, Robin and the first/second grade team have implemented a playground equipment check out system. This allows the students to grow in their personal responsibility and have student voice and choice. The students who are the "ball monitors" have to check out the equipment and have the student clip their name next to what they are checking out. Robin has been out there everyday at recess to get this rolled out smoothly for the beginning of the year. She calmly and politely lets the students know their duties and the steps they need to take.

As if this wasn't enough, she teaches the students coping skills by having a "cool-down corner" in her room where the students who need it can take a break. There are different activities they can do in the corner and it never has a stigma since she lets the students know that everyone may need it every once in a while. Robin also teaches her first graders about their brains and how that impacts their decision making. When students are having a difficult time, she takes the extra step of sitting down with them and talking through issues and decisions with them in her soothing voice.

She also does a wonderful job at Olive School in Motion and even has done a flossing dance with the kids which garnered a HUGE response from the student body (lots of Fortnite fans)!

Robin's experience and enthusiasm adds a tremendous amount of good spirit to our school community.


Graciela Navarro
Graciela NavarroNight Custodian / Hamilton
Lucia Avalos
Lucia AvalosPlayground Supervisor / Loma Verde
Janna Morbitz
Janna MorbitzTeacher / San Jose
Irene Howard
Irene HowardTeacher / Rancho

May 2019

Andrew StrawbridgeTeacher / Hamilton
Gabriel BrandInstructional Assistant / Lynwood
Heather ArnoldTeacher / NHS
Cassandra DiazSystems Analyst / DO: IT

April 2019

Helen Hughes-TomeAdmin Asst III / DO: SpEd
Kathy WarrenTeacher / SMHS
Eden ThibeaultTeacher / Lynwood
Rama KalluriCampus Supervisor / SJMS

March 2019

Christina HawkinsTeacher / Rancho
Stella SimonTech Support Tech II / San Ramon
Tracy PickardSchool Office Manager / Loma Verde
Mary McGurkeTeacher / Sinaloa

February 2019

Grace CosentinoTeacher / San Jose
Karen MatsonTeacher / Lu Sutton
Barbara RoddieLibrary Media Specialist / San Ramon
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
Miguel Rae
Miguel RaeParaeducator / Olive
Lisa Nyquist
Lisa NyquistTeacher / Loma Verde
Alex Kinnee
Alex KinneeTeacher / NHS

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
Jonathan Ferrer
Jonathan FerrerAssistant Superintendent, Human Resources
Kris Cosca
Kris CoscaSuperintendent
"Our employees are our GREATEST asset!"


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