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SSD celebrates its 2022-2023 Employees of the Year

The Sunnyvale School District is so proud to announce our 2022-2023 Employees of the Year!

Classified Employee of the Year: Ricky Corrales (District Office)

Ricky Corrales is a Skilled Maintenance Worker specializing in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. He has been with the District for 9 years. Ricky exemplifies what it means to be a Sunnyvale School District employee. Ricky not only has the highest technical expertise to repair, maintain, and monitor all of our district’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems but he does it with an unmistakably positive attitude. His presence on any of our sites is always welcomed and our staff knows that they are in good hands when he is there. 

He always conducts himself with the highest level of customer service and professionalism and truly cares about the work that he is doing. He is a true team player and is always the first to help out wherever help is needed. From classroom moves to plumbing, roofing, and on-call duties Ricky continues to be a high-caliber constant for our district. Sunnyvale is extremely fortunate to have Ricky on our team and he is deserving of this award and acknowledgment.

Quotes from Staff:

“Ricky is super responsive, works extremely hard, is super knowledgeable, and I feel like he goes above and beyond every time he is onsite. He is also so likable” – Principal 

Teacher of the Year: Anna George – Fairwood Elementary School

Anna George is a Special Day Class (SDC) teacher and has been with the Sunnyvale School District for 17 years. 

“Anna is one of the best SDC teachers I’ve worked with.” This was one of the comments shared by a member of the Fairwood staff. Anna provides structure, routines, and high expectations for all students in her classroom. Based on the needs of her students, Anna effectively incorporates fine motor activities, sensory breaks, and language development opportunities into her learning environment along with all of the core instructional areas. Through music, movement, and iconography, Anna engages her students in learning throughout the day in ways that meet the diverse needs of her students. This multi-sensory approach supports students in consistently meeting their learning objectives.

Anna successfully mainstreams her students into general education classrooms for various activities and academic learning opportunities. Providing her students with this access prepares them for new learning opportunities and supports their movement into less restricted environments. In addition to supporting her students, Anna’s collaboration with general education teachers allows everyone to benefit from hearing different teaching methods and strategies that are supportive for all types of learners. When attending grade-level meetings, she often has valuable ideas to share for how to support behavior, language development, or other learning needs.

Anna has a keen awareness of her students’ needs and is able to implement various strategies to help them participate at their highest levels. She is consistently pushing her students to show their best work, while also understanding the wide range of student backgrounds and needs. Anna gets to know her students and their families well, and she consistently reaches out to families to share what is happening in the classroom. She celebrates milestones and inquires about changes she sees in her students. Hearing the family stories helps her to gain a better understanding of her students’ needs. Through these conversations she is also able to provide strategies to support students at home.

Anna works with a wide range of students and adults in her classroom, and she recognizes that they all have their strengths to contribute to the classroom environment. As such, she encourages all members of the Room 9 team to take on leadership roles, including the students. Anna is always willing to open her classroom to others. She often hosts SDC teachers, psychologists, and administrators in her classroom so they can see a strong SDC classroom environment. She openly shares resources and provides coaching to colleagues to help them develop their practices.

Anna is always open to learning new ideas, and she enjoys working alongside other professionals to continuously improve the classroom environment in Room 9. She is receptive to feedback and applies new learnings quickly, but thoughtfully. Anna manages the Room 9 team seamlessly. As a team, they work closely together to meet a wide range of student needs. All members of the team share responsibility for all aspects of the classroom, and Anna models humility and teamwork in everything she does. Anna manages her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings efficiently and makes families feel welcomed and heard. She provides thorough feedback on academic progress and supports families in knowing what they can do to best meet the needs of their child at home.

Management Team Member: Brandt Burns (District Office)

Brandt Burns is the Director of Facilities and Operations. He has been with SSD for 7 years. Brandt truly listens to concerns, will explore options, and even if he has to say “no”, will give reasons behind it.   He is approachable and communicative and consistently seeks ways to respond to staff, student and community needs. Brandt continues to find opportunities to set up systems to not only be more consistent, but to maintain a high standard for the Operations Department.  Brandt has created handbooks for various departments providing clear expectations and allowing better communication between sites and operations.  Brandt has streamlined systems for work orders and other tasks that have made the processes more transparent and effective.  Brandt, along with his Capital Projects Coordinator, have effectively managed the large Ellis construction project (including a major mid-year move), has begun planning for the Sunnyvale Middle School modernization, has created space and playgrounds for the transitional kindergarten (TK) expansion, and continues to initiate upgrades and needs at all 10 school sites.  Brandt is also leading a major equity initiative by expanding and targeting transportation to ensure those students most in need are receiving this service.

Brandt’s leadership is evident in his proactive approach to his position.  Brandt is constantly exploring ways to improve operations to better serve the school community.  Brandt seeks to understand the link between facilities and student learning and works tirelessly to improve practice, to make operations, as he says “invisible” so that sites don’t have to worry about facilities.  At the same time, his leadership is very visible as evidenced by site maintenance and expanded transportation. Brandt models effective leadership by consistently communicating about projects, and seeking feedback from educational partners in order to learn and grow.  Brandt is receiving this award not just because of what he has accomplished, but because he has the vision of what his department can become to benefit the whole school community.  Congratulations, Brandt!!

Quotes from management staff:  

  • “Brandt has made monumental strides in putting forth comprehensive and well thought through plans – both small and large scale – to support equitable practices with regards to operations in our district. He has moved the equity needle more in less than one year on the job in so many ways. He takes feedback and adjusts where it makes sense to do so – in service of students. Systems and protocols are getting cleaned up and made much more clear, saving school leaders time and energy, making things much more efficient and freeing up their time to focus more on instructional leadership.”


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!

  • Samuel Deloera, 12 years
  • Maria Duenas, 17 years
  • Gary Garcia, 35 years
  • Susan Gilbert, 20 years
  • Louise Kuramoto, 32 years
  • Manuel Sanchez, 35 years
  • Suzanne Ruthnaswamy, 33 years

Article by District Communications Coordinator Alia Wilson.

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