The Sunnyvale School District is proud to announce its 2017-18 Employees of the Year.
Management Team Member of the Year
Dr. Pamela Cheng has been with the Sunnyvale School District for 17 years. In those 17 years, she served as a classroom teacher, a Language Arts instructional coach sharing best teaching practices with our teachers, was Summer School principal in conjunction with the Stanford Teacher Education Program and most recently as Principal of Lakewood Elementary.
Pam has a positive, can-do attitude that always puts students first. She communicates effectively with people within her school community as well as the community at large through a wide variety of partnerships. She collaborates with outside agencies to provide support to students and their families; is a warm demander in encouraging her staff to do what’s needed for kids and engages the community in fun ways as well as educational ones.
Pam is kind and caring and sensitive to the needs of those around her. She asks insightful questions that are designed to elicit helpful information that will move her school and district forward in service of students. To further strengthen her skills as an administrator, the proud product of the Sunnyvale School District successfully completed the three year Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program at San Jose State University earlier this year. Congratulations Dr. Pamela Cheng on being named Management Team Member of the Year!
Classified Employee of the Year
Mrs. Iman Abdo is an Instructional Aide in the District’s Therapeutic program where she has worked for the past four years. She is a former Ellis parent who has also worked as a noon aide. Iman is a caring and gentle individual who works entirely with the students’ interests in mind. She is a gentle yet firm role model—qualities that help students see her as a caring adult who expects the same from them as she does from her own children.
Mrs. Abdo has a unique ability to guide a student to success through compassionate yet unyielding actions. She uses her own style of reverse psychology to convince a resistant student to participate in expected behaviors. She implements behavior plans effectively and provides a perfect amount of support. For example, if a student is not exhibiting a behavior, she will back off and allow the child to be independent. If the child starts to escalate, she will intervene.
Mrs. Abdo takes the responsibilities of her job very seriously. She has been in her current role at Ellis during a period of transition in the District’s special education programs. According to District staff, the process of fully including students with special needs into general education classes would not have been successful were it not for Iman’s compassion and dedication to our students. She has always believed in every student’s ability to give their very best and her unwavering insistence on this commitment to kids has yielded results that have at times surprised us all. We are very proud of Mrs. Iman Abdo, the 2018 Classified Employee of the Year.
Teacher of the Year
Mr. Ha meets the students where they are and brings them to levels that exceed all expectations. Using his background from San Jose State’s Critical Research Academy, he is a growth mindset guru. He teaches about growth mindset starting day one and uses the philosophy to help keep students motivated throughout the year. With a growth mindset, students learn that their abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence. Alex Ha knows his class well and carefully plans his lessons to include their interests. Alex loves creating lesson ideas that allow the students to express themselves in different ways, whether it be through media or presentation. Alex has high expectations for his kids and provides them with multiple opportunities to show what they know.
As a Lakewood alumnus, Alex has deep-rooted relationships within our community that drive his desire to support our students. Mr. Ha does not hesitate to give back to the school that helped mold him into the role model he is today. He has served as a translator to support communication beyond his classroom. He welcomes and supports all students with special needs and works to ensure that students’ academic and social-emotional needs are met. When unexpected life events happen to his students, he quickly reaches out to families in order to better understand how to support them. Alex goes out of his way to develop relationships with his students. Alex Ha is the Steph Curry of the Lakewood team. His high level of skill, coupled with his acute awareness of those around him allow Alex to make key passes, set his teammates up to score, or to drive home when we need a basket at the buzzer. He is an MVP every day and lifts our level on the court simply by being on our team. A warrior at heart with a Lions’ roar, Lakewood is proud to honor Alex Ha as Teacher of the Year.
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 will miss you!
Melinda Cooper, 40 years
Rebecca Hansen, 31 years
Karen Bautista, 27 years
Robert Gelb, 22 years
Phuong (Gigi) Chu, 20 years
Ron Gantvoort, 20 years
Kathleen Meadows, 17 years
Guadalupe Centeno, 16 years
Linda Moore, 16 years
Deborah Edwards, 15 years
Isabel Delgadillo, 14 years
Orest Mytrofaniuk, 7 years