Published April 25, 2024

Within any public school or district office, you will find many who play an important role in creating safe, engaging learning environments for students to reach their full potential. They wear many hats, from custodians to nurses, librarians to counselors, accountants to office assistants, teachers to paraprofessionals. Their passion for their work and community is contagious and inspirational to us all.

Learn more about outstanding staff at public schools across San Mateo County!

Teresita Quintana
San Carlos School District

Teresita Quintana arrives at work well before the bell rings to ensure that her bus is ready to go for the day. She greets all of her passengers with a joyful smile and begins their day with kindness. Being a driver in a small district requires flexible thinking, and Teresita often has to be able to pivot when faced with an unexpected change. We are so lucky to have her serving the San Carlos School District in this role.

Richard Vaughan
Music Director
Hillview Middle School
Menlo Park City School District

Richard Vaughan has served as Hillview School's Music Director for 23 years, and previously taught at Woodside Elementary and Menlo School. He has been instrumental in growing the district's music program and ensuring that a community performance space was included when Hillview was rebuilt in 2009. He has taken band and orchestra students to perform up and down the state, from Giant's games and San Francisco City Hall to Disneyland.

Tom Lyons
Assistant Principal
Hillview Middle School
Menlo Park City School District

Tom Lyons taught for 31 years before making the move to administration in 2022. He has made a huge impact on decades of Hillview students in the science classroom, as an electives teacher, and as part of an administration team that prioritizes a culture where students feel valued, inspired, and connected.

James Bell

Lillian Bussell
Spanish Teacher
Oceana High School
Jefferson Union High School District

Lillian Bussell continuously steps into leadership roles at Oceana High to critically think about goals that best serve students. Her focus on creating systems that effectively serve students is at the forefront of her teaching, both in and outside of the classroom.

May Madrid
Math Teacher and Leadership Advisor
Thornton High School

Jefferson Union High School District

May Madrid is truly exceptional, inspiring students with her passion for mathematics.  Not only does she excel in teaching complex concepts, she also dedicates her time to fostering student leadership through various school programs. She truly is an invaluable asset to our educational community.

James Bell
Adapted Physical Education Specialist
Sequoia Union High School District

As the Adapted Physical Education Specialist within Sequoia Union High School District's Special Education program, James Bell makes students feel included and empowered with activities and events including kayaking, swimming, and all-district basketball tournaments.

Image of Conner Juliano

Linda Townsend
Arundel Elementary School
San Carlos School District

Linda Townsend has been the heart and soul of our elementary school library for over two decades. Linda has not only enriched our library with an incredible selection of books but has also created a space that feels like a second home to every student who walks through its doors. Linda’s library is more than just a room full of books; it's a cozy haven where children are greeted by the comforting presence of plush stuffed animals and an impressive collection of San Francisco Giants-themed bobbleheads—a nod to her love for baseball and our local team. This unique touch adds a personal flair to our library, making it a favorite spot for our students and staff alike.

Jen MacKinney
First Grade Teacher
Arundel Elementary School
San Carlos School District

Jen MacKinney is a first-grade teacher whose dedication and passion have enriched our school for over 20 years. Her commitment to fostering a love of learning in the young minds at Arundel Elementary has left a lasting impact on countless students and families within our community. Throughout her illustrious career, Jen has been at the forefront of educational excellence, using her creativity and passion to ignite a sense of wonder and curiosity in her students. She has masterfully incorporated creative art projects into her curriculum, allowing children to express themselves while enhancing their learning experience. Her classroom is a vibrant hub where colorful artworks and imaginative creations come to life.

Conner Juliano
Central Middle School
San Carlos School District

Conner Juliano is always on time, professional, polite, and builds meaningful, positive relationships with students. Classroom teachers regularly praise him for his ability to circulate in the classroom naturally and assist students with whatever subject they are struggling with. Conner possesses a great combination of being approachable while being firm and making sure students are upholding the teachers’ expectations for work and appropriate behavior. Last year we were low on noon duty coverage, so I asked if Conner would be willing to take an early lunch so that he could help out with yard duty. Without hesitation, he adjusted his schedule. I regularly see him talking with students who may be alone or needing extra support socially or behaviorally. He is a positive, friendly presence on campus and we are so lucky to have him!

Lucy Salido
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher
Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy
Ravenswood City School District

“If you really think about it, LOVE is the number one attribute to any teacher's true success story. Sadly, we cannot list love as part of the required, -no exceptions-, qualifications during the hiring process; and cannot demand it from any educator as long as they are showing up from 8-3, following a set curriculum, doing their "job" and or are part of the union. -However, anyone working with students, with any moral conscience that cannot see themselves loving their students, should do society a favor and step down from teaching and just find themselves another job. Because teaching is and should be an act of LOVE.”

Yvette White
Campus Relations Coordinator
Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School
Ravenswood City School District

All our team members play a critical role in creating effective learning environments for students both inside and outside the classroom. One of these key team members is Yvette White, who serves as our Campus Relations Coordinator at Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School. Additionally, she is a CSEA unit member on the CSEA Executive Team. Yvette, who supports 8th-grade students, has been instrumental in fostering a positive school climate by coordinating and planning events for students during lunch periods. Moreover, she is coordinating with team members who engage with 8th-grade students to acknowledge their efforts when they meet expectations, thus contributing to an environment where everyone can feel comfortable being themselves and learning.

José Quintana
Capital Facilities Fiscal Manager
San Mateo Union High School District

José Quintana works tirelessly to improve student learning through his role as Capital Facilities Fiscal Manager. In addition to leading the San Mateo Union High School District in constructing state-of-the-art facilities and learning environments, José seeks to engage students in his work by educating them about construction project management. Earlier this year, he co-led a tour of the San Mateo High School gymnasium construction site, where students in the district’s Bridge program saw firsthand the different trades and roles that are involved in the project. Jose often gives interviews to various student newspapers to educate school communities about Measure L as it relates to the construction on campuses and what these capital facilities improvements will mean to students.

Lara Gill

Ann Radoc
Jefferson Union High School District

Ann Radoc has served as District Accountant for JUHSD since 2002. This makes well over 20 years of expertly managing the district's finances and making sure our accounting practices are sound. Ann is a strong collaborator and works well with a variety of people to manage our books. She works closely with the County Office of Education, our school site account clerks, school principals, district directors, and our associate and deputy superintendents. She is extremely knowledgeable and dedicated and deserves recognition for her contributions to JUHSD and the larger community.

Diane Quiery Sexton
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher
Cipriani Elementary School
Belmont-Redwood Shores School District

Diane Quiery Sexton is completing her 50th year of teaching in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD).  She has taught grades TK-8th within BRSSD, has been a Master Teacher, served on curriculum committees and the District Leadership Team, was a Presenter at the Northern California Kindergarten Conference, served on the County Office of Education's Art Committee, and was a teacher trainer at the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Summer Institute at the County Office of Education. She created and taught the first TK class in BRSSD.  Diane was awarded Teacher of the Year for San Mateo County in 2014.

Lara Gill
Multicultural Literature and Voice Teacher
Menlo-Atherton High School
Sequoia Union High  School District

As the lead teacher for Menlo-Atherton's Multicultural Literature and Voice (MCLV) ninth-grade English class, Lara Gill has successfully steered a team to deliver rigor and inclusion for the students in their care. The MCLV team works to help students see reading and writing as a community activity rather than a solitary experience. Lara works with her team on encouraging students to find different ideas and access points into assigned texts as a collaborative group, leading to stronger analysis and understanding.

Howard Jones
Learning Center
San Carlos School District

Howard Jones supports the 4th and 5th graders in our Learning Center at Mariposa. Howard goes above and beyond to build a climate of belonging and inclusion at recess for students with special needs. He brings bags of blocks, chalk and sidewalk games up to the recess yard and supports students in reaching out to their general education peers to invite them to play with them. He embodies our value of helping all students to soar!

Rosalind Carney
Administrative Assistant
Adult School
Jefferson Union High School District

Rosalind Carney is a wonderful administrative assistant, but that is only the half of it. She is constantly thinking of ways to serve and recognize our adult students such as planning celebrations for achievements, organizing graduation ceremonies, and end-of-year gatherings. These are things that are often overlooked at the adult school level, but actually mean so much to our students.