The Sunnyvale School District is so proud to announce our 2021-2022 Employees of the year!
Classified Employee of the Year: Sharmila Velmurugan (District Office)
Sharmila Velmurugan is the Student Services Technician for the Student Services and Special Education Department. She has been with the Sunnyvale School District for six years. She is a super admin with a hand in seemingly everything (staff support with multiple platforms, training, student support through the Student Attendance Review Board, calendaring, and more!). She is responsive as needs arise and caring and supportive of her co-workers. Staff report that she has pitched in to help lighten the load for someone else or offered some stress relief, whether it’s through a warm chat or a warm cup of tea. She also has great insight as well as foresight on projects. Many times, she will identify an important consideration for a project. She provides thoughtful and immediate solutions, sometimes while the meeting is still in session. Her dedication to the district, the staff, the students, and the community knows no bounds. Sometimes the staff has asked what is your job? This is because she is aware of her role, but demonstrates ongoing servant leadership in each of her contacts. Parents often will call her because of her ability to listen and the consistent follow-through and care she provides. Our department and Sunnyvale are better because of her support!
Teacher of the Year: Lindsay Choi (Columbia Middle School)
Lindsay Choi is a 7th-grade science teacher and 8th-grade AVID advisor at Columbia Middle School (CMS) and has been with the Sunnyvale School District since 2017. Ms. Choi is exactly the type of teacher that CMS students need in their lives! Her effervescent personality radiates in all directions. Naturally, students gravitate toward her and the dynamic energy that she brings. Ms. Choi leverages those relationships to push her students in the realms of academics, behavior, and social-emotional capabilities. It is clear that the trust she builds with her students fosters a belief in them to push for something greater. If you are fortunate enough to watch her class in action, you will see students writing comprehensive Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CERs) explanations of their work, collaborating during labs, participating in academic discussions, taking notes, and engaging with articles. Her class is Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading (WICOR) and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) in action, two school-wide focus areas for CMS!
Ms. Choi’s positive attitude and dedication to the community are plain to see. As noted, students gravitate toward her, but they also speak very highly of her because she embodies what it means to be a warm demander. The impact she has on the students is also evidenced by the number of students who return to visit her after they have walked the stage with us. She is a fierce advocate for all students on campus and is not shy about pushing to make sure that student needs are met in all settings. But it’s not just the students who benefit from Ms. Choi being at CMS, the rest of the staff also win big. Ms. Choi is always open to collaborating and is a true teacher leader on campus. She is well-respected and well-liked by her colleagues. We are truly lucky to have Ms. Choi on our team.
Throughout her tenure at CMS, Ms. Choi has been a campus leader. She has been on the Science Leadership Team, she is part of the AVID site team, and she teaches an AVID elective course. If that wasn’t enough, Ms. Choi is also the7th-grade lead and responsible for facilitating the Multi-Tiered System of Support process for her colleagues in 7th grade. Last but certainly not least, Ms. Choi organizes our Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) program and Student Leadership group, which consists of over 30 8th grade students who manage and promote school spirit events. These spirit events are a large part of defining who we are as a school and what it means to be a Columbia Bulldog.
Management Team Member: Mary Beth Allmann (District Office)
Mary Beth Allmann is the Director of Human Resources and has been with the Sunnyvale School District for 12 years. Mary Beth was highly effective with all Human Resources needs, and specifically all COVID-19 guidance during the 2021-2022 school year! She had an amazing awareness and responsiveness to sites via Human Resources and COVID-19 needs. We couldn’t have handled the surge or the staffing dilemmas without her sense of urgency. Mary Beth embodied leadership by synthesizing information from the county, and creating protocols that set us up for success! MBA has systematized several facets of HR. Her ability to organize and make processes accessible is unmatched. Her creativity in addressing staffing shortages has eased pressure on site team members to fill those gaps. She is always a text or call away to listen, problem-solve, and support. Even late nights and Saturday mornings. She leads by example and provides mentorship to developing leaders. I know the staff feels she is supportive and caring and wants the best for everyone. She treats people with dignity and respect.
Congratulations to those listed below for their years of service and dedication to the Sunnyvale School District who will be retiring at the end of the year. We appreciate you and will miss you!