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Employee Spotlights

There is amazing work happening on every campus and in every department at PUSD.

Each month Superintendent Brian McDonald and PEF features a different PUSD department to shine the light of recognition on some of our brightest and most committed staff. These PUSD employees deserve a special "shout out" for their excellence. We are #PUSDproud!

January 2016  - EQUITY AND ACCESS Department

Dawna Tully, teacher at Cleveland Elementary. 

Ms. Dawna Tully has been a dedicated teacher at PUSD for 25 years.  She is in her 5th year teaching at Cleveland Elementary.  This year she is teaching 1st grade.  Ms. Tully enthusiastically encourages a love of learning which is immediately evident when you step into her classroom.  Ms. Tully is recognized for equity and access because she believes that it is critical that our underserved students are provided an enriched and challenging curriculum.  Each child deserves individual attention so that their potential is nurtured and self-efficacy increased.  She strongly believes this will lead to improved academic, college, and career choices. "As a former underserved student who was challenged academically, I have direct experience of the power of education to affect positive change within one generation. I want that and more for all our students."

Victoria Humdy, Marshall Fundamental

Victoria Humdy has been working at Marshall Fundamental for nine years.  Her title may be Security, but Ms. Humdy wears many hats.  She is also a mentor, a counselor, a parent, a teacher, a friend, and above all, a listener.  She is a shoulder to lean on.  This is why she is recognized for her equity and access.  You will always find her interacting, supporting, and encouraging students to thrive.  She wants all students to reach their maximum potential.  "Sometimes I feel like a magnet.  I'm drawn to them and they're drawn to me.  That's the opportunity for me to give them a positive outlook on their future and their potential.  They are already going through so much in their personal situations.  I feel like I need to listen to them more, be more understanding, and provide support I know they don't have."

Dr. Jennifer Smith-Jackson, principal at Norma Coombs Elementary.  

Dr. Jennifer Smith was a teacher for 10 years, an assistant principal for over four years, and a principal for five years.  In addition, Dr. Smith serves as Equity Chairperson of the APSA (Association of Pasadena School Administrators) Board. Anyone that has had the pleasure of being around Dr. Smith can understand that educating ALL students is her lifelong passion.  She always does her homework too!  She continually accesses information and resources that generate opportunities to support all of her students' needs.  Her drive comes from seeing the growth and change in children as they develop and mature.  Dr. Smith is recognized for her equity and access because " I just know, at my core, with access and opportunities, so many more students can thrive and demonstrate what they truly know."  She wants equity for all students..."to level the playing field."

December 2016 – ATHLETICS Department

Janel Coburn, Volleyball Coach at Blair School.  Ms. Coburn has been the head coach with Blair High School's volleyball program for one year. She is currently a substitute in PUSD.  She loves the energy it takes to be a teacher.  Ms. Coburn is best known for bringing information to life!  She loves the opportunities to be silly and help her students have fun while learning.  Janel definitely brings that energy to the volleyball courts for her players!  She strives to be someone that pushes each student to be better in all aspects of life: sports, academics, and personally.  A bonus is to instil the love of the game.  Overall, she loves  providing a positive female influence for her players. 


Athletic Coaching, Asst.  Varsity Head Coach Cherif Zein, Pasadena High School Boys Soccer CIFF SS Runner UP Championship.  AKA, Sir Lord Don El Rey Arabe Cherif.  This is his 24th year as head soccer coach.   Sir Cherif is a true bulldogs - he loves the PHS traditions and all of his amazing colleagues.  Of course, he is dedicated to his students both on and off of the field.  He enjoys developing the students into athletes while open their minds to their future.

Brian James, John Muir High School.  Mr. James has been a teacher for 24 years and an administrator at John Muir High School for 3 years.  He enjoys pushing student athletes toward perfection and loves the fulfillment on their faces when they actually achieve it.  He also, admits that winning is not a bad thing either.  Mr. James is also a passionate educator off the field.  "Although it may take days, weeks or even years to be realized, I enjoy the opportunity/challenge of making a genuine difference in the life of a young person"  says Brian James