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SSD celebrates its 2023-2024 Employees of the Year and Retirees


The Sunnyvale School District proudly announces our 2023-2024 Employees of the Year!

Classified Employee of the Year: Rigo Sosa – Bishop Elementary School

Rigo is an absolute asset within the Bishop community, embodying the qualities of positivity, collaboration, continuous learning, cultural responsiveness, and community involvement. His daily interactions with students and staff are characterized by warmth and positivity, as he greets everyone with a smile and a welcoming attitude. Rigo’s friendly demeanor fosters a sense of inclusivity and belonging, creating a positive atmosphere that uplifts the entire school environment. 

One of Rigo’s greatest strengths is his collaborative spirit. He not only responds promptly to all requests but also actively engages with staff members to fulfill their needs effectively. Rigo goes above and beyond by leveraging resources, including district personnel, to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and to the highest standard. His willingness to collaborate and adapt to various situations demonstrates his commitment to supporting the school community. 

What truly sets Rigo apart is his eagerness to learn and grow. He approaches his role with a mindset of continuous improvement, readily listening to suggestions and feedback from others. 

Rigo’s cultural responsiveness is exemplary, particularly in a diverse community like Bishop’s. His ability to communicate and respond to Spanish-speaking students and staff in their preferred language demonstrates his respect for their cultural backgrounds and enhances their sense of belonging within the school community. 

Beyond his role as a custodian, Rigo is deeply involved in the school community. Whether he’s helping students during recess and lunch or assisting with various tasks like retrieving lost items or solving unexpected challenges, Rigo’s dedication to supporting the well-being of our students is truly commendable. As a Leader in Me School, Bishop incorporates Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into its curriculum and school culture. Rigo’s adherence to the 7 Habits is evident in his proactive approach to his responsibilities. His consistent and instant response to requests showcases his reliability and efficiency.

Congratulations to all the nominees:

  •  Shanmughadevi (Devi) Achuthan (Para Educator), Cherry Chase Elementary
  •  Roxana Portillo (School Outreach), Columbia Middle
  • Myung Joo (MJ) Kim (Para Educator), Cumberland Elementary
  • Jeanne Macayan (Accounting Assistant), Iowa Campus
  • Hugo Morales Jauregui (Custodian), Ellis Elementary
  • Jenna Bender (Occupational Therapist), Fairwood Explorer
  • Amadeni Guzman Morales (Para Educator), Lakewood Elementary
  • Swathi Gadi (Para Educator), Preschools
  • Montserrat Abrego (Para Educator), San Miguel Elementary
  •  Juan Decali (Learning Resource), Sunnyvale Middle
  •  Manuel Ochoa & Miguel Alvares (Custodians), Vargas Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Divya Bhasin – Preschool

Preschool teacher Divya Bhasin, embodies the values that drive our district’s work every day.

Divya believes in her students’ learning potential. She has high expectations for them and sets clear goals. She then follows up with specific teaching strategies and interventions based on each child’s individual needs, with an eye toward their continuous academic and social-emotional growth.

Divya appreciates the strength of her staff and knows how critically important they are to student learning. She supports their success by providing clear direction and making real-time suggestions during the teaching process, helping them on their growth journeys as education professionals.

She values staff input, collaborating with para-educators to find the most effective ways to support each child, adapting as needed if student behaviors change or intensify.

Divya deeply values home-school relations. She works closely with families to gain insight into children’s needs and to offer coaching on how families can support student learning, from home.  

Congratulations, Divya!

Congratulations to all the nominees: 

  • Kennedy Flanders, Bishop Elementary
  • Lydia Dupre, Cherry Chase Elementary
  • Al Gonzales, Columbia Middle
  • Gina Lee, Cumberland Elementary
  • Heidi Dennis, Ellis Elementary
  • Julia Salvador, Fairwood Explorer
  •  Leticia Alvarez, Lakewood Elementary
  •  Magdalena Contreras, San Miguel Elementary
  • Charles Ancheta, Sunnyvale Middle
  • Reyna Steffl, Vargas Elementary

Management Team Member of the Year: Kathryn Armstrong

Kathryn has been a dedicated Teacher, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, and Principal in our district for over 20 years.  As Principal of Vargas School for the last 8 years, she has led her staff to focus their efforts on best instructional practices for students, leading to improved outcomes for students.  She is clear and intentional in her focus, always with students best interest in mind.  She effectively conveys her vision and outcomes to staff, presenting clear values, goals and directions.  Then she provides support and works alongside her staff to achieve her goals.  Over the last 8 years Kathryn has built a caring, professional and dedicated staff with a clear focus on student social emotional needs and academic outcomes.  Her teachers have a high level of respect for her and the work she does.

Kathryn is very aware of the needs of her site.  She works closely with her staff to find resources and ways to support those needs.  She focuses on the time she has with students and aims to give them the best learning experience they can have.  Serving a population with a wide variety of needs- Kathryn takes a proactive approach, seeking out resources both in the district and with outside partnerships.  Kathryn holds high expectations for her students and staff she leads.  Additionally, Kathryn keeps herself informed about the most recent curriculum and best practices for the students at Vargas. 

She leads by example and is truly a professional with her knowledge and calm demeanor.  

Congratulations to all the nominees: 

  • Chin Chin Chiu, Behavior Intervention Services Coordinator
  • Stacy Esquibel, Preschool Program Manager
  •  Stephanie Fischer, Ellis Elementary School Principal
  • Tara Lubrano, Bishop Elementary School Principal
  • Rachelle  Romander, Fairwood Explorer Principal
  • Paul Slayton, Director of Student Support Services
  • Alia Wilson, Communication Coordinator
  •  Esteban Ybarra, San Miguel Elementary School Principal


Congratulations to those listed below for their years of service and dedication to the Sunnyvale School District who will retire at the end of the year. We appreciate you and will miss you!

  • Mary Jo Anderson, 27 years
  • Jeff Betz, 30 years
  • Rachel Bross, 6 years
  • Hyesuk Clark, 14 years
  • Margaret DeLoach, 6 years
  •  Steev Gever, 26 years
  • Sheri Hess, 6 years
  • Jeff Hoffman, 27 years
  • Jagriti Kukherjee, 17 years
  • Heather Mumy, 39 years
  •  Franklin Oliveros, 11 years
  • Dulce Maria Reid, 18 years
  • Alma Rogers, 21 years

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