Stepping onto the field of the Giants’ stadium at AT&T Park would be a memorable experience for any San Franciscan, but it was perhaps extra special for five San Francisco public school teachers who were introduced to the stadium as winners of the Mayor’s Teacher of the Year Award. 

The teachers were honored by Mayor Edwin Lee and SFUSD Deputy Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero in a special ceremony on the field before the start of the Giants v. Blue Jays game. The teachers donned Giants hats and waved to a crowd that included their friends, family and students. Winners of the Mayor’s Principal of the Year Award were also honored and in attendance for the game.

“It’s very humbling, because there are so many teachers I know who are incredible teachers,” said Mark Rosenberg, a third-grade teacher who has worked at Monroe Elementary School since 2001.

For Rhonda Jefferson, a Pre-K teacher at Presidio Early Education School, last night marked another milestone: Her first visit to AT&T Park.

“I’m really excited,” she said before stepping through the gates.

Some of the Mayor’s Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year award winners before the big game.

Ms. Jefferson said the award helps recognize the many roles teachers play in public schools.

“We put in a lot of work to support families,” Ms. Jefferson said. “I feel like I’m more than a teacher. I’m a social worker; I’m a janitor; I’m a part-time doctor.”

Tomokazu Morikawa, who teaches Japanese language classes at George Washington High School, didn’t even tell his students about the award at first. They learned of his big win after a photographer came by the school to shoot photos.

“I’m so honored,” said Mr. Morikawa, who added that he doesn’t do this work for special recognition. “I just enjoy it. I do what I do,” he said.

Helana Corda, a sixth grade teacher at James Lick Middle School, received this achievement after working in the San Francisco Unified School District for more than seven years. The award capped off what had started as a tough year. 

Educators said it felt extra special that their nominations came from the students, parents or colleagues they work with.

“I think that it really speaks to the community that’s at James Lick and the support that I have,” Ms. Corda said.

Ms. Corda waves to the fans at AT&T Park.


The Mayor’s Teacher of the Year Award is part of Thank a Teacher Today, an effort led by the San Francisco Education Fund, Mayor Edwin Lee and Superintendent Richard Carranza during Teacher Appreciation Month to recognize teachers for the incredible work they do in our public schools.

“It’s very exciting to have your work recognized, and I feel like there’s many, many teachers out there who deserve to be recognized,” said Kathy Angus, a fifth-grade teacher at Argonne Elementary School.

The full list of winners:

2015-2016 Mayor’s Teacher of the Year Award Recipients

1.       Rhonda Jefferson, Pre-K, Presidio Early Education School

2.       Mark Rosenberg, 3rd Grade, Monroe Elementary School

3.       Kathy Angus, 5th Grade, Argonne Elementary School

4.       Helana Corda, 6th Grade Language Arts/Social Studies, James Lick Middle School

5.       Tomokazu Morikawa, 9th-12th Grade World Language/Japanese, George Washington High School

2015-2016 Mayor’s Principal of the Year Award Recipients

1.       Lindsey Keener, Principal, San Francisco Public Montessori Elementary School

2.       Jean Robertson, Principal, Glen Park Elementary School

3.       Carline Sinkler, Principal, Herbert Hoover Middle School

4.       Julie Kessler, Principal, San Francisco International School


We’re telling stories about San Francisco teachers throughout the month of May as part of Teacher Appreciation Month. Please share this story with your friends on social media and spread the word about the amazing work teachers do in our schools. Want to learn more about how you can thank a teacher in San Francisco schools? Visit thankateachertoday.org.