SF teachers, principals honored for their work 

Last week, teachers, principals and a vast community of supporters took part in a lively celebration at City Hall.

It was the annual Mayor’s Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards ceremony. I’m grateful to Mayor Ed Lee for continuing this tradition of recognizing our teachers and principals.

In case you couldn’t be there, allow me to introduce to you these amazing award winners. These are just a few of the thousands of wonderful people who teach our children and lead our schools every day.

Karen Hadley: Karen has been a physical education teacher and athletic director in the San Francisco Unified School District for 18 years. Now at Claire Lilienthal Elementary School, Hadley is passionate about character-building and healthy fitness as well as nutrition habits in and outside of school. She teaches her students a respect for lifelong healthy fitness habits, and maximum participation for all.

Candace D. Lee: Candace is proud to be a fourth-generation San Franciscan. Her career in early education has spanned 41 years, with the last 18 years as an SFUSD site administrator in early education at Noriega Early Education School. She says her passion has always been to educate young children.

Kennith Lee: A third-generation San Franciscan, Ken grew up in North Beach and Chinatown and is a 1968 graduate of Francisco Middle School, where he is now principal. His goal is to make Francisco the best middle school in The City by providing strong academics and comprehensive services for students and families.

Sophie Lee: Sophie has been a dedicated educator for 40 years and currently is the proud principal of Sunset Elementary School.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she says her aspirations to be an educator grew out of strong family values emphasizing the importance of education. Anyone who visits Sunset can tell you she fosters a school culture where all students are accepted, encouraged and challenged, parents are involved and collaborate, and the teachers feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Barnaby Payne: Barnaby is a Noe Valley native and an Eagle Scout from The City’s Troop 14. He is in his 19th year as a teacher and administrator in the SFUSD. His mother says she is equally proud of his brothers Tony, principal of Presidio Middle School, and Nick, a city firefighter. Barnaby says he plans to be principal at Lincoln forever and I say we’d all be grateful.

Heidi Hubrich Seretan: Heidi is a special-education transition teacher and department head for AccessSFUSD: The Arc, serving students who have completed high school, ages 18-22, who have moderate to severe disabilities. Heidi says she loves to see the pride on her students’ faces as they work in the community and become more independent. She works to make sure students progress in their skills and creative expression, and encourages them to be their own advocates.

Lisa Tsukamoto: Lisa is a kindergarten teacher in the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program at Rosa Parks Elementary School, and she says teaching is in her blood. Her mother, a longtime principal in the district, instilled in her a love of learning. Tsukamoto taught English in Japan first and has been teaching in the JBBP for 16 years. She helps coordinate the program’s participation in the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and serves as a mentor in the SFUSD’s Mentoring for Success program.

Vera Diane Williams: Williams is a native San Franciscan. She graduated from Balboa High School and attended City College of San Francisco and then San Francisco State University. Vera, who is now at Theresa S. Mahler Early Education School with some of our very youngest students, has taught SFUSD children for over 42 years.

Maria Yip: Maria is an enthusiastic second-grade teacher at Robert Louis Stevenson School and has taught at the same school for 15 years, where her motto is always “Work hard, play hard.” Maria helps students discover their strengths, talents and learning styles.

Richard A. Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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