Hall of Fame
Mary has served the Sunnyside District for over 40 years, as a band, orchestra, and general music teacher. For 20 of those years, Mary has also held the role of music coordinator. In addition, Mary authored a music curriculum, helped in the design of Gallego intermediate Fine Arts Magnet School, and planned a budget proposal for new instruments funded through bond funds. Mary continues to pursue grant opportunities for the music programs in the District.
For over 30 years, Art worked in SUSD as a bus driver, custodian, mechanic, teacher of automotive technology, and Director of Transportation. He is currently Coordinator for the Internship Youth Program for Pima County, where he creates connections between SUSD students and direct employment.
Cesar started a Career & Technical Education (CTE) manufacturing program at Desert View High School, which has grown to include over 300 students. In this nationally-accredited program, seniors are able to earn multiple industry certifications, as well as work-based experience, preparing them to enter the workforce with industry-recognized credentials. During the pandemic, Cesar worked with students in his program to manufacture face shields for Pima County healthcare workers.
Humberto is a graduate of Sunnyside High School and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Arizona. He taught physical education and also coached football and wrestling at both Sunnyside and Desert View High School. During his time coaching at both DVHS and SSHS, he was instrumental in the football and wrestling teams winning the AAA Southern Division Football Championship and three AAA Arizona State Wrestling championships. Humberto was also named Head Coach of the year while serving in the District.
Serving the Sunnyside District for over 39 years, Charlene began teaching at Sunnyside High School, in a one-room building housing grades 1-9. She later transferred to the newly opened Mission Manor and taught there for several years. Charlene also served as assistant principal and then principal at Craycroft, Los Ninos and Santa Clara Elementary schools. She was named Arizona Elementary Principal of the Year in 1987. Charlene was integral to the Career Ladder Program and even served as the Career Ladder Liaison for six years after retirement.
Taunya is a graduate of Sunnyside High School. An avid runner, Taunya, was one of the top runners in Sunnyside High School’s history. She completed her university education in finance and business, and she is the founder of her own financial firm–Affinity Wealth Management. Taunya continues to support SUSD as president and active member of the Sunnyside Foundation. Taunya is also Chair of the Tucson Airport Authority.
Pamela Sue “Pam” Betten
Pam has served in the Sunnyside Unified School District for over 30 years. During her 13-year tenure at Los Amigos Elementary, the school was twice recognized as an A+ school. Pam and her team successfully implemented a dual-language bilingual program for many years. An innovative and determined leader, Pam is also known for her genuine and caring interactions and for her ability to build trusting and lasting relationships with staff, students, and families. At the Central Administration level, Pam has served as Director of School Improvement, through which she was instrumental in technology integration for students. In her current role as Chief Academic Officer for Curriculum and Instruction, Pam uses her expertise to provide direct oversight for core content area directors, special populations, and exceptional education departments. Pam is frequently called upon to present at national and state conferences and is highly regarded by her peers.
Sergeant William “Wil” Corrales
Through strong collaboration with the Sunnyside Unified School District, Sgt. Corrales has helped establish the District as a leader in school safety, both on a local and national level. Sgt. Corrales has over 20 years of experience in law enforcement and has dedicated the last 12 years to serving students, families, and staff of the Sunnyside community and has established strong relationships in the District. In addition to extensive support and training Sgt. Corrales has provided over the years, Sgt. Corrales has gone above the call of duty by participating in community events such as the Back to School Wellness Fair, the annual Thanksgiving dinner event for families, as well as Sunnyside Meet Yourself and the McKinney Vento Angel Tree program that serves unaccompanied homeless youth during Christmas. He is generous with his support of the Sunnyside Alumni Association’s Dollars for Scholars by annually donating to various scholarships for high school seniors.
Dr. Deborah “Debbie” Dimmett
Debbie is a former teacher in the Sunnyside Unified School District; she retired after 30 years of service and has taught at the University of Arizona. As National Board Certified teacher who holds five Master’s degrees as well as a Ph.D., Debbie taught in the gifted education program and was a leader in creating experiential, project-based learning projects for students. Debbie led a three-year intergenerational and oral history project that resulted in the publication of the book, They Opened Their Hearts: Tucson Elders Tell WWII Stories to Tucson’s Youth, which was presented to the National Endowment of the Arts’ Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C. as the best example of the arts in education projects in Arizona. The book is archived in the historical reference division of the library at Stanford University. A co-founder of two nonprofit organizations, Debbie works tirelessly for human rights; she often travels to Haiti to help develop sustainable skills for educators.
Frederick “Fred” Hambly
After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the University of Arizona, Fred Hambly dedicated over twenty years of his career to teaching art at Sunnyside High School. He also sponsored an active extracurricular Arts Honor League at the site. Fred left high school teaching to pursue his own art career on a full-time basis, and he continues to paint until this day. Fred has been recognized as a true painter of the West, using his works of art to help preserve western ideals, history and way of life. Fred is well-known for his generosity and supports numerous causes and non-profit organizations through donations of his paintings for sale or auction at fundraising events. To help raise funds for the Sunnyside Alumni Association, Fred graciously donated a framed poster of the painting used for the Tucson Rodeo’s Fiesta de Los Vaqueros, which is available for silent auction at the 2019 Hall of Fame event.
Rudy grew up in the Sunnyside community and attended Santa Clara Elementary, Apollo Middle School and is a proud graduate of Sunnyside High School. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Rudy was hired as a coordinator for the University of Arizona’s New Start Summer program and helped support in-coming students and their families. Rudy soon recognized his passion for serving students from low-income and underserved populations from first-generation families. Rudy joined the Office of Early Academic Outreach, where he serves as Director of the program. Through Rudy’s unrelenting efforts, he and his team have had a tremendous impact on students and families through stellar programs such as the College Academy for Parents (CAP), the purpose of which is to ensure that children’s college attendance becomes “not a dream, but a plan.” Along with his wife and two children, Rudy continues his support of the Sunnyside District and contributes to the Alumni Association to support the CAP Scholarship each year.
Christine “Chris” Suarez
An alumna of the Sunnyside District, Chris attended Liberty Elementary, Apollo Middle School and graduated from Sunnyside High School. Chris also began her career in the District, first at Apollo Middle school, then moving to the central administration with elementary curriculum and later to student services. After over 20 years in SUSD, Chris is serving in her thirteenth year at the Pima JTED. She is regarded as the consummate office professional and an expert in computer-related tasks. She is devoted to her work and is always ready to lend a helping hand to colleagues. Despite her preference for shunning the spotlight and working behind the scenes, Chris has received several recognitions for her work, including Office Manager for the entire JTED District and has received the prestigious award of Administrative Assistant of the Year by the Arizona Career and Technical Education Association. Chris continues to provide support to her grandchildren; she is part of the Liberty Elementary Parent Advisory Council and has served as a cheer coach at Apollo Middle School.
Andrea León Foster
Andrea is a product of the Sunnyside School District, having completed all her schooling in the District and graduating from Sunnyside High School. She has also spent all of her career in Sunnyside, currently serving in the role of Title I and Family Engagement Coordinator. Andrea oversees the McKinney Vento Program and has been instrumental in the fruition of the annual Back-to-school Fair. Andrea and her team spend countless hours working with community partners to obtain resources and services for students and families in the community. For over 15 years, Andrea has remained committed to the partnership with the University of Arizona’s Early Academic Outreach Department in the successful development of the College Academy for Parents (CAP). Andrea is a gracious and positive leader in the District.
Raúl Esteban Hodgers
Raúl has spent his career in the Sunnyside School District, at Desert View High School. A graduate of Nogales High School Raúl excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. He received his B.A. in secondary education at Arizona State University and his Master’s degree from Phoenix College. Mr. Hodgers developed a very successful program at DVHS for English language learners, and dedicated himself to ensuring that students arriving from other countries have the same opportunities as others. Raúl has also been a supportive coach and mentor. He is currently the assistant principal at DVHS. He is respected and admired by colleagues and students. Many of his former students have gone on to have successful careers and still remember their beloved teacher and mentor.
Steven “Steve” Price
Steve began his tenure with the Sunnyside District in 1984. He was a teacher at both Esperanza Elementary and Sierra Middle School and was also part of the Career Ladder team. Steve went on to become the principal of Ocotillo Elementary School. Under his leadership, Ocotillo was one of five Arizona schools to receive the prestigious Blue Ribbon award, due to significant increases in achievement. With an unwavering belief that all children can and will learn, Steve worked hard to secure additional resources and support services for his students and teachers. After his retirement, Steve continued to serve the District as interim principal at Los Ranchitos, Los Amigos and Liberty Elementary during some difficult transitional years. Steve is active in his retirement, spending a great deal of time hiking and traveling with his wife.
Humberto “Bert” Otero
Bert retired from the Sunnyside School District in 2014, after an accomplished career as an educator and coach. Bert taught social studies, physical education and was Department Head in PE and also Athletic Director at Desert View High School. He coached football, baseball, basketball, cross-country, tennis, golf, and softball at every level; DVHS received distinctive and numerous softball championships and recognitions. A great deal of Bert’s time was also spent in after-school activities, during which he provided academic tutoring for students. He supervised the District Open Gym, to keep kids active during the summer months and was involved in various fundraising activities. Bert spent over 38 years in the Air National Guard, earning the rank of Master Sergeant and served in various tours of duty in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Kosovo. Bert is respected by all and is a great role model for his students and peers.
A graduate of Sunnyside High School, Yolanda has followed in the footsteps of a family committed to community advocacy. Yolanda has been a trailblazer in the fight to create positive change, giving hundreds of volunteer hours in the areas of remediation of contaminated groundwater, the prevention of liquor licenses in south side communities, and other environmental issues. Forging her way into a business that was at the time not supportive of women, Yolanda faced many challenges and difficulties, yet she became a self-taught successful interior design consultant for over thirty years. She was the first female forklift driver and UPS driver in Tucson in the 70’s and 80’s. Yolanda continues her volunteerism through activities such as serving as president of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and strong involvement on the Unified Community Advisory Board.
Samuel “Sam” Portillo
Sam grew up on the southside of Tucson; he attended Sunnyside High School and wrestled for the school from 1983-1985. During this time, the team won three state championships, under the coaching direction of National Hall of Fame coach, Don Klostreich, and also assistant coach, Chris Antoniotti and Richard Sanchez. A gifted three-sport athlete, Sam went on to become an award-winning coach, with a long list of awards, recognitions and commendations. He has traveled all over the world and has coached in events from the World Cup, to Olympic training camps to the Pan-American games. Still, Sam returned to the Sunnyside District to continue his support of students in his home District; he is currently the head wrestling coach at Desert View High School. He opened a wrestling camp at no cost for students in Tucson. Sam has brought world- class athletes to the students in the camp so that they can learn their techniques and hear their testimonies. Sam continues to share his talents through his support of students.
Recognized as Educator of the Year in Santa Cruz Valley School District, Chris helped establish the District’s La Casita Preschool program. From classroom teacher, she transitioned to NCLB Coordinator & Director of Title I Programs serving at-risk youth. The wife of fellow educator and former SUSD superintendent, Dr. Raúl Bejarano, Chris still found time to serve as an officer with Delta Kappa Gamma Women’s Education Honor Society & the Santa Cruz Valley Education Association. Post-retirement activities include Tucson Kino Rotary & fundraising activities, the Sunnyside District Alumni Association, and being a loving nana. Chris is a living model of Service above Self.
Dr. Debra Bergman
Elementary school teacher, SEA president, Gallego Elementary School Principal, Director of Elementary Schools, Director of Professional Development, Chief Human Resources Officer, Teacher Evaluation and Interest-Based Bargaining Committee member …in whatever capacity Debbie has worked, she has done so with unwaveringly ethics, fairness, professionalism and dedication. She is an advocate for the Tohono O’odham community which reflects her mother’s heritage, as well as, an active leader in her church and Dollars for Scholars scholarship sponsor.
Armed with a Bachelor of Science Business / Marketing degree from NAU in 1978, Clif began his long tenure with the Sunnyside School District at Apollo Junior High in 1979 as a general business teacher. However, he found his niche as Marketing Education instructor at Sunnyside High School (1981 – 2012) and finished his career as District Teacher Retention and Mentor Specialist in 2016. Clif was critical to the development and success of Sunnyside High’s Marketing / DECA program; he coordinated student fundraisers for MDA, coached wrestling and soccer, and served on state & national Marketing Education Association Board of Directors.
A retired teacher, Debbie had an unusual start to her instructional career with the Department of Defense schools in Mainz & Wiesbaden, Germany. Upon returning to the U.S., Debbie taught at several elementary and middle schools until retirement. Not one to rest on her laurels, Debbie fills her time supporting numerous causes including promoting literacy, serving on Mulcahy YMCA, Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT) boards, and is a founding member of Tucson Kino Rotary. In her spare time she volunteers for the Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music organization, Angel Heart Pajama Project, & the Scott Allen Brown Foundation. In 2015, Debbie established a Dollars for Scholars scholarship in memory of her beloved husband, Barry W. Haddock.
As a former Sunnyside High School Blue Devil, Steve Holmes, has graduated from a Sunnyside student to Sunnyside District superintendent. The name on his senior yearbook, Dare to Dream, epitomizes his educational career. The father of twin boys, Steve works tirelessly in his dedicated vision to make a lasting impact on SUSD. He studies, he confers, he listens, he volunteers, he shares, he smiles…and mostly, he cares. His boundless energy and gracious nature are encouraging and contagious as they are shared with multiple organizations and agencies. Steve Holmes is what one would call “the entire package”.
A relatively shy, quiet student prior to her freshman year at Sunnyside High School, Beki has blossomed into quite a phenomenon…a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, community activist, graffiti fighter, Tucson Clean & Beautiful Recycling Education Coordinator, fundraiser & SUSD school board member. Beki is a major figure in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Assoc. which sponsors an annual All-American Awards event (23 years & counting). She & Herrera family members oversee and promote the peaceful haven known as the Peace Garden which serves as a site for star-watching parties, Shyann Kindness Project activities, Mother’s Day teas, thank-you parties for Parks & Recreation, first responders and literacy events.
A Sunnyside High School graduate, Raúl parlayed his athletic records on both the Blue Devil football field and in the wrestling room with a University of Arizona degree in physical education into a lifelong career in education and athletic programs. Channeling his personal success in the athletic arena, he shared a passion of sports with others (such as fellow inductee, Steve Holmes). Teaching in Marana for more than 25 years, he coached football, baseball and wrestling; and coached alongside Richard Sanchez during Sunnyside’s state championship football seasons. Raúl was instrumental in spearheading the SSHS Football Golf tournament which was generated in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. Currently at DVHS as a weight training teacher and football coach, he focuses on teaching students the importance of daily fitness to maintain a healthy life style.
A Salpointe Catholic High School and University of Arizona grad, Andy is seemingly on a non-stop fast track to…everything! His teaching career began at Brichta in TUSD, but he has settled and focused his boundless energies in SUSD as a teacher, assistant principal and A+ principal at Elvira Elementary School. Andy has created a nurturing, fun packed and safe learning environment for young Elvira Eagles in the classroom, on the playground, and on the basketball court. His encouragement of staff and parental involvement is contagious whether it be in themed school activities, honoring others, helping those in need, planting trees, hiking with students, flying high with Wright Flight, or sponsoring scholarships. His love of all things Wildcat and Chicago Cubs is EPIC!
Evelyn Craft, retired music and orchestra teachers, is considered by many to be the “grand dame” of the orchestra program in the Sunnyside District. She taught at all levels; elementary, junior/middle, and high school, bringing joy and a sense of accomplishment to kids year after year. She spent countless hours after school giving private lessons and preparing her students for solo competitions and local ensemble auditions.
Buck Crouch, a Sunnyside student from elementary through high school is a very active community volunteer, including serving on the Sunnyside Governing Board since 2011. His belief in lifelong learning and service to his community have provided him many opportunities to give back to his community as a member of the Kino Rotary Club of South Tucson, Sunnyside Literacy Council, Sunnyside Alumni Association and as President and Board Member of the Sunnyside Foundation.
Debbie Edwards, Special Education teacher at Desert View High School, has been dedicated to giving her special needs students many opportunities and exposure to the community. The SunnyVail Conference and Special Olympics are two such outstanding examples. She has served students for over 38 years. As a department chair for 17 years, she has spent many hours providing leadership as a mentor to her colleagues in the often complex field of Special Education.
Robert “Bobby” Jaramillo
Robert “Bobby” Jaramillo has a lifetime of memories as a Sunnyside High School graduate of 1971 and in his service to his country as a highly decorated 29-year member of the Air National Guard (162nd Fighter Wing). Bobby has served Sunnyside as a teacher, athletic coach, 14-year veteran Governing Board Member, AFJROTC instructor, community volunteer and proud parent of four Sunnyside graduates.
Francisco “Frank” Morales
Francisco “Frank” Morales, Director for School Safety, has provided safety and security to our students, families and the Sunnyside community for over 22 years. Frank has been visionary in bringing his compassion for people together with local law enforcement professionals to fulfill the harsh reality of needing to keep our kids and our campuses safe. His collaborative effort transends the norm for cross-agency emergency response efforts, for which he has garnered local and national recognition.
Mary Jane Santos
Mary Jane Santos had a long and successful career as Principal at Elvira Elementary School. During her tenure, Elvira received extensive recognition, including being honored as an “A+ School” by the Arizona Department of Education and a “Blue Ribbon School” by the U.S. Department of Education.Elvira was also nationally recognized for the Family Literacy Program, which provided GED, adult education and citizenship classes.
Command Sergeant Major Martin Barreras
Martin Barreras enlisted in the military after graduating from Sunnyside High in 1982, serving five years in the Marines and then in the Army. Command Sergeant Major Barreras served 22 years in the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Army’s premier direct-action raid force. He was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama and Haiti. He had been wounded in combat several times and was awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, three Purple Hearts and more than 30 other awards. Command Sergeant Major Barreras was the highest ranking non-commissioned officer with the 2nd Battalion 5th Infantry Regiment ‘Bobcats.’ He deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom in December 2013. On May 13, 2014, Martin died from injuries suffered in action in Harat Province, Afghanistan on May 6. He was 49. The Sunnyside Governing Board voted in May to rename Sunnyside Park as Command Sergeant Major Martin R. Barreras “Gunny” Park. Martin is mourned as a hero by his family, his Sunnyside community, and the nation for which he made the ultimate sacrifice.
Fil Barrera had always wanted to be a teacher and a coach. Sunnyside and the greater Tucson community have benefitted from his lifelong dedication to children and tireless community service. Fil was a teacher in the Sunnyside District from 1975 to 2001, serving 24 years at Los Niños Elementary as a classroom teacher and then art teacher. He also coached soccer and baseball at Chaparral Middle School, and was instrumental in developing curriculum for the district’s elementary physical education. Since retiring, Fil has volunteered for many organizations in Tucson that help children – Casa de los Niños, the Scott Allen Brown Foundation and the Angel Heart Pajama Project. He is president of the Kino Rotary Club. Fil is also an artist who creates sandpaintings and an entrepreneur who started his own business, Fil’s Promotional Ideas. He has supported many schools and non-profits with his art and business.
A graduate of Sunnyside High, Bob Miranda served as a teacher and coach for 20 years in Sahuarita, where he was a leader in the local and state teachers associations. Bob served four years on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board as member, clerk and president. He joined the Sunnyside District in 1995 as assistant principal at Apollo, and began to create his legacy of excellence as a principal at Sierra Middle School from 1996 to 2004. Under his leadership, Sierra gained recognition for its steady improvement from the Beat the Odds Institute, an initiative of the Center for the Future of Arizona. Bob has served three two-year terms as president of the Sunnyside Administrators Association. When the Sunnyside District opened a new school in 2005, Bob was appointed principal. Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School was named a Beat the Odds Bronze School Partner in 2011. In 2010, Bob was a finalist for the Rodel Exemplary Principal award. He is an exemplary leader shaping the future of thousands of students, families and his community.
Kathy York Laird
Kathy York Laird’s achievements and community service are a source of pride for the Sunnyside District. A Sunnyside High School graduate, she began her career in 1973 as secretary to two district departments at the former Nogales Highway administrative site. At the onset of year round school in 1974-75 she became the first scheduling clerk at SSHS, working with Fred Bull. Following a nine-year absence and move to Kentucky, Kathy returned to Sunnyside in 1988 after earning an Associate of Arts degree with High Honors from Pima Community College. Since 2001, Kathy has served as the Sunnyside District’s first Medicaid Reimbursement Specialist, earning state recognition for the program model she developed. She was honored as the Pride of Sunnyside for Central Administration in 2008. Kathy was a leader in the Sunnyside Educational Office Professionals Association, state and national organizations. She was state historian, and won a national award as editor of the state newsletter ─ The Kachina. Kathy’s volunteer service is focused on Sunnyside students and community. In addition to many other activities, she is a charter member of the Alumni Association; having served as treasurer for eight years and as president in 2012.
A commitment to literacy and early childhood education guided the work of Carolynn Carter during her 37 years in the Sunnyside Unified School District. A primary teacher, Carolynn began to specialize in reading recovery and was a major contributor to the development of Sunnyside’s first all day kindergarten program. She served not only as a teacher, but also a trainer of master teachers in her role as the Language Art Curriculum Specialist. She was also recognized as the Arizona Learning Disabilities Teacher of the Year in 1984. Other contributions to the Sunnyside District include her assistance in restructuring the Title I program and creating the positions of Title I Facilitator and Parent Involvement Assistants. Carolynn is described in her nomination as a “servant leader, a model of integrity, a lover of children, and a quiet, talented educator.”
While she has served in numerous leadership roles over the years, the constant for Ms. Ana Danehy has been her role as a teacher at Sunnyside High School for 33 years. Her commitment is first and foremost to her students, and this is exemplified in their success. Her student’s often are recognized at Future Business Leaders Association conferences, winning all three top awards in 2013. In addition to teaching business and computers, Ana has served as an advisor for National Honor Society and as the chair of the Graduation Committee. She is also well respected by her peers and as her nominator writes, “Every teacher, administrator and educator respects and admires the professionalism, leadership, and productivity of Ana Danehy.”
A passion for cooking, fashion and teaching led Sherry Hardy to a full career in Sunnyside Unified School District… 34 of her 36 years of teaching were invested in Sunnyside, where she taught at Chaparral, Desert View and Sunnyside High School. A multi talented teacher, Sherry taught classes in clothing and cooking at the high school level; she also used her elementary education skills at Chaparral Middle School teaching Reading, English, science, and social studies. With a range of educational experiences, Sherry was asked to develop the Education professions course sequence, teaching high school students who aspired to become teachers. With a commitment to service, Sherry’s good works continues. Today she can be found working with the Step Up TLC program, taking miniature horses to hospitals and libraries to brighten the day of children and adults. And if one of those horses is wearing a costume, odds are that was created by Sherry, too!
Teacher, coach, club sponsor, Paul Hughes was one of the most dynamic educators to work at Sunnyside High School. Paul worked at Sunnyside for 29 years and is responsible for the development of an outstanding industrial arts program. Long before Project Based Learning was a focus, Mr. Hughes and his students were busily at work building items for the community. These included cabinetry for a new Foods Lab, a playhouse for Up With Children, folding panels for the library. His students also impacted the larger Sunnyside community building wooden stretchers and spine boards for Tucson Airport Authority and Fire Department and working with Habitat for Humanity. Coach Hughes spent 11 years as the JV/Varsity track coach and 17 years coaching basketball. His teaching included an element of service and he continued to serve after retiring from education. His nomination attests to his legacy as a man who “ahs” and continues to make a difference in all aspects of his life.
Rosemary Badian is a volunteer extraordinaire. A graduate of MIT & Cal Poly Pomona, Rosemary has worked with organizations such as General Dynamics, Hughes / Raytheon…most recently serving as Community Outreach volunteer at Raytheon. Rosemary has given tirelessly as she recruits hundreds of volunteers to work with students & has created innovative programs that have become well-established in SUSD such as the highly successful Math Nights. She volunteers, motivates, creates, & has inspired a community of teachers & lifelong learners.
From creating thematic learning centers at an A+ elementary school, to responding to alarms at all times of day & night, to designing technical / training programs, to leading fund-raising for Cystic Fibrosis & American Cancer Society, to hosting community karaoke parties, Cindy Bova has made selfless contributions with a willing spirit, unbelievable work ethic & a zest for life. Cindy quietly observes & then suggests brilliant ways of being more efficient & steps up to make it happen. She has succeeded with grace & grit, inspiring others to join the work & adopt her optimistic attitude. Cindy currently works with SUSD as Energy Management Specialist.
Personally & professionally, Valla Dalrymple has dedicated herself to strengthening families. Valla has used her education & experience to enrich lives of teenaged parents, their children, & students at SSHS through the Teen-Age Parent Program. Valla volunteers with the Sunnyside District Alumni Assoc. served on the board & established an endowment for the Tom Dalrymple Memorial Scholarship to honor her late husband, a longtime English teacher at Sunnyside High School. She recently published an e-book of Tom’s poetry, with proceeds going to the scholarship. Valla has accomplished all this with grace, integrity, humility & love. She retired from SUSD in May of 2013.
Dr. Sharon Hooker
Dr. Sharon Hooker joined the Sunnyside School District in 1973 working as an elementary teacher for only one semester before she single-handedly designed the district’s gifted program. She implemented S.U.N.─Serving Unique Needs, for students in grades 3 to 6. Under her direction, S.U.N. program now serves 800 elementary & 600 middle school students. She is also a teacher trainer, an author & world traveler. Sharon was named a Star Teacher (2004), received a Ben’s Bell award (2009), & a Lifetime Achievement Award from the AZ Assoc. for Gifted & Talented (2010). Sharon is the consummate professional─a thinker, organizer, dreamer & tireless leader. Sharon is in one word…inspirational.
Santa Clara Elementary Principal, Eddie Islas, comes from a family of educators & has continued this tradition by marrying another educator, Cindy Islas (Mission Manor Principal). Eddie joined SUSD in 1991 working in various roles─teacher, prevention specialist, Title I Facilitator, Career Ladder peer support team evaluator, & lastly as an elementary school principal. He works tirelessly with staff, students & community to build a comfortable & collaborative learning environment at Santa Clara. He has fostered strong cooperative partnerships with the Tohono O’odham Nation’s San Xavier District, the neighborhood association & local businesses. Eddie’s positive outlook encourages fun in learning.
Joan Katz is a slender but mighty force at the forefront of early childhood education & fundraising. Coordinator of the Sunnyside District’s Parents as Teachers Program (PAT), Joan created a model program which has garnered much recognition… PAT is a brain-research-based program supporting parents from before the birth of children until age 5. It raises children’s academic success, identifies potential developmental delays & is a highly effective outreach program for parent engagement. Joan has been personally responsible for raising more than $1 million from donors & coordinates a $1.3 million First Things First grant serving Pima County families. Joan is a master teacher, a savvy partnership-building, a passionate lobbyist & an impressively successful fund-raiser.
Allie Faye Mathews
You could say that Allie Faye Matthews was born & raised in Sunnyside. She attended all twelve years of school in SUSD (Mission Manor, SS Jr High & SSHS). Until June of 2013, she had worked all her adult life in SUSD starting in 1975. Faye worked in Administration for more than 36 years serving as a special education secretary, administrative secretary; budget assistant & risk management specialist. She has worked with a staggering dedication to Educational Office Professionals Associations at all levels… Sunnyside (SEOPA), Arizona (AEOPA), & National (NAEOP)…tirelessly serving as a leader at each level, culminating with a year as Nat’l President in 2011-12. NAEOP is the only national association for educational office employees. Allie Faye is a consummate professional with a solid reputation as a person of integrity & never misses an opportunity to encourage others. Faye now works as Risk Manager for the City of Tucson but will always be a Sunnysider at heart.
Dr. Ed Matty
Known as Mr. Mathematics and the fastest statistician in Arizona, Dr. Ed Matty was an icon at Sunnyside High School making math challenging & fun. He dedicated his skills as a statistician to the Blue Devil football program for decades… working on the field 25 seasons after retiring from SSHS. During World War II, he served as a code-breaker. He earned a Ph.D. in statistics from the U of A & was one of the founding teachers at SSHS where he devoted his entire teaching career… almost always wearing his trademark bowtie. He loved…Sunnyside, mathematics, athletics, to talk to people, & traveling (visiting more than 38 countries); he never used a calculator; was feared on the handball court & ran six miles every day until he was 86. Dr. Matty passed on July 28, 2013 at the age of 88. He leaves a legacy of a life well lived, in devotion to a community which is carried forward in the hearts & minds of those he inspired.
Paul Dye, retired Sunnyside High math teacher, soccer coach, sports photographer and Mr. Banana Man. He and students were invited to present on Systems Thinking at the Apple conference. In his current career as UA sports photographer, one of his photos was featured in a Sports Illustrated special issue on sports venues in the USA.
Kathy Ross Hernandez
Kathy Ross Hernandez, a 1969 Sunnyside alum, former Sunnyside Foundation treasurer and community volunteer who exemplifies Sunnyside spirit and service to her community.
Norma Garcia, a Sunnyside student since elementary school and 1960 Sunnyside High grad, retired Chaparral Middle School principal, now volunteers at Mission Manor Elementary School twice a week. Norma worked in the Sunnyside District for 40 years.
Chief Armando Liendo
Chief Armando Liendo, a Desert View Air Force JROTC instructor, girls’ soccer coach and community advocate, has been a teacher in the Desert View JROTC program since it started in 1992. The program was awarded “Outstanding Organizational Unit Award” in 2012 by the national Air Force JROTC Headquarters.
Sally Hansen, retired Desert View High School librarian, girls’ tennis coach and community advocate. She was a co-sponsor when Desert View students formed a Gay/Straight Alliance and was one of the educators who formed the Tucson chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. Sally lost her valiant battle with cancer in August 2013.
Dwight Rees, retired Sunnyside High teacher, basketball coach, peer mentor, community volunteer and co-founder of the Gut Check Foundation. Coach of Sunnyside’s only boys’ basketball state championship team in 1993, he was voted Coach of the Year 10 times from 1975 to 1993. He was inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in October 2012. Dwight and his wife Margie established the Gut Check Foundation to raise awareness and support research on Clostridium septicum, the bacterial infection that took the life of their son Andrew in 2009.
Jim Heintz, retired Sunnyside High English teacher and staff development trainer. A former Teacher of the Year Ambassador of Excellence, he taught high school students and was a teacher of teachers for 39 years.
Michael Chihak is producer and host of “Arizona Week” on KUAT-6 TV, former editor and publisher of the Tucson Citizen newspaper, and a strong supporter of education and community development. Mr. Chihak initiated a partnership with the school district and stayed involved in leading very well attended town halls in the Sunnyside community.
Clarence “Nick” Nichols
Clarence “Nick” Nichols (deceased), served as a Sunnyside District Governing Board member for 18 years from 1956 to 1977. He was a leader in the Arizona School Boards Association, of which he was named an honorary life member, and in the National School Boards Association. Mr. Nichols was instrumental in the building of several new schools in the 1960s.
Refugio “Cuco” Del Cid
Refugio “Cuco” Del Cid has been the mariachi teacher at Sunnyside High since 1995. He teaches music skills and instills pride and appreciation for Mexican culture and traditions. A musical prodigy as a child, he was a member of Los Camperos for more than two decades. He is the director of Mariachi Los Diablitos de Sunnyside, Mariachi Herencia and Los Corazones de Oro.
Monique Soria is the director of public relations for the Sunnyside Unified School District. She championed the district’s participation in the national Learning Communities Coalition and was active in the establishment of the Alumni Association and its Dollars for Scholars scholarship program. She initiated the district’s logo, brand development, website and cable TV broadcasting.
Eric Giffin served as a Sunnyside District Governing Board member for 12 years and is a long-time community activist. He achieved Master of Boardsmanship from the Arizona School Boards Association. Mr. Giffin is active in the Elvira and Sunnyside neighborhood associations, was a founder of Project Export/Sunnyside and Elvira Advocates for Health Coalition, and was a member of the Sunnyside District team that established its Learning Community Initiative as one of four communities in the national Learning Communities Coalition.
Elaine Valenzuela retired this year as manager of the Valencia Branch of the Pima County Public Library. She attended Sunnyside schools since elementary and graduated from Sunnyside High. Ms. Valenzuela has brought many services to the library that have made it a constantly busy hub of the community. She is active in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, is a Board Member of the Sunnyside Foundation, a member of the Liberty Partnership Council since its inception 13 years ago, and a member of the Literacy for Life Coalition and REFORMA, a national library organization that promotes library services to Latinos.
Gretchen Beardslee joined the Sunnyside District in 1974, teaching Sunnyside High’s Family and Consumer Science courses, including Up With Children, Clothing and Fashion Design, Culinary Arts and Single Survival. Although Mrs. B has been retired for 15 years, she volunteers 40 to 50 days a year mentoring students in the Sunnyside High School Family and Consumer Sciences programs.
Dr. Jeannie Favela
Dr. Jeannie Favela, “La Reina,” has served the Sunnyside District as a bilingual special education teacher, director of Language Acquisition and Development, and currently as the assistant superintendent for student services. She is a passionate advocate for English Language Learners. She also sings with Mariachi Los Diablitos and Mariachi del Desierto on the CD, “Una Familia.”
Don Fuentes became part of the Sunnyside family in the third grade as a student at Sunnyside Elementary School. In 1979, Don began his teaching career at Los Ranchitos, and from 1988 to 2000 he taught and coached at Chaparral Middle School, where he established the first middle school mariachi group in Tucson. For the past 10 years, Don has served as a teacher, coach and musical director at Desert View High School, where 90 percent of his mariachi students have gone on to college.
Isla Hamstra has been serving the Los Ranchitos community for more than 40 years. She began as a volunteer in 1967, and was later hired as a playground monitor, classroom assistant and then office manager. She was one of the founding members and president of the Sunnyside Educational Office Professionals Association. Even though she formally retired in 1988, Isla has been volunteering four days a week at Los Ranchitos for the past 12 years.
Dr. Elizabeth Krebs
Dr. Elizabeth Krebs began her career in Sunnyside as a counselor and then principal at Sunnyside Junior High. In 1970, she was named the first principal of Apollo Junior High. She served as assistant superintendent of curriculum, interim superintendent and principal of the Sunnyside Freshman Campus. Dr. Krebs celebrated her 90th birthday in June of this year.
Charles “Bud” Morehead
Charles “Bud” Morehead was pharmacist and manager of the Ryan-Evans Drug Store on the corner of South 12th Avenue and Valencia Road. This drugstore and soda shop became a cornerstone of the community. Mr. Morehead served for 12 years as a member of the Sunnyside Governing Board during the 1960s and 70s, a period of dramatic growth in the district.
Nancy Murray has served the Sunnyside District for 30 years as the art teacher at Drexel Elementary School. Her students have produced local, state and national award-winning works of art. Nancy led the installation of tile projects in the community, and she created the traveling exhibit, Gallery of Children.
Raúl Ochoa has served as assistant principal and athletic director at Desert View High School, principal of Santa Clara Elementary and Desert View, and since 2008 as assistant superintendent of Operations and Facilities Planning. He served in the Air National Guard for 21 years and is a member of the Kino Rotary Club of South Tucson.
Kirby J. Kegans
Kirby J. Kegans was appointed to the district Governing Board in 1959 and was elected to four terms, serving until 1976. He helped plan and acquire sites for future schools to meet the demands of the district’s population growth.
Susan Masek was the first principal for Sierra Middle School in 1984 and helped bring the middle school concept to the Sunnyside District. In 1989, she was recognized as Arizona Principal of the Year, and in 1992 Sierra was named an A+ school.
René Rodriguez began his career at Apollo Middle School as an industrial-arts teacher, and softball and baseball coach. He taught welding and coached varsity football at Desert View High School, and served as a counselor at Sunnyside High School.
Carol Roos served the district for 39 years as a social worker. She was hired as dean of girls for Sunnyside High in 1970 and founded the district’s homebound teaching program.
Sue Tillis, who began working for the Sunnyside District in 1980, is the district’s director of special education. Sue has worked on task forces for the Governor’s Office for Children, and in 2002 was named Special Education Director of the Year for Stars of Arizona Education.
Maria Elena Wakamatsu
María Elena Wakamatsu is an award-winning teacher, author and poet, chair of the English Department and an English and creative writing teacher at Desert View High School. Her students regularly are winners of local poetry and corrido contests.
Dr. Kathleen Bethel
Dr. Kathleen Bethel led Los Ranchitos Elementary in becoming one of Tucson’s first schools to implement the “PeaceBuilders” program. Additionally, she secured and maintained an annual $60,000 grant for K-3 at-risk programs for five years. Dr. Bethel currently serves principal at Los Ranchitos Elementary School and as director of science fairs for Southern Arizona and chair elect of the SciEntek-12 Foundation.
Mario A. Castro, Sr.
Mario A. Castro Sr. opened the doors of opportunity for Mexican- American cross-country runners who followed in his footsteps. While at the University of Arizona, he was the top runner. He also taught and coached in the Tucson Unified School District for 35 years until his retirement. He currently teaches at Lauffer Middle School.
A trailblazer in women’s sports, Lynne Dailey began building a tradition of athletic excellence for women at Sunnyside High School. She was the first non-collegiate chairperson for the Division of Girls and Women’s Sport Track and Field Examinations and Ratings Committee of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Lynne is currently one of the leading quarter horse breeders in Arizona.
Dr. Mary Belle McCorkle
Dr. Mary Belle McCorkle led the charge in establishing full-day kindergarten programs in all SUSD elementary schools—a first for the City of Tucson. She Initiated the early-release schedule on Wednesdays to allow teachers extra time for team planning, collaboration and school improvement, and she established the first El Centro Alegre daycare center in the Sunnyside District.
Jim Mielke coached his Sunnyside High School cross-country team to a state championship, and in 1980, was named NCAA National Cross-Country Coach of the Year. Coach Mielke has taught/coached more than 40,000 students in his 40-year career at Sunnyside and Pima Community College.
Ned Norris, Jr.
A parent of Sunnyside District graduates, Ned Norris Jr. is a former SUSD Governing Board member and former Chief Judge for the Judicial Branch of the Tohono O’odham Nation. In 2007, Mr. Norris was elected to a four-year term as Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Mr. Gene Repola, former Sunnyside District assistant superintendent, was instrumental in the planning and construction of three new schools. He also laid foundation for the excellent athletics program at Sunnyside High School.
Robert H. Rencken
Bob Rencken was the former director of psychological services and lead psychologist for the Sunnyside District. Mr. Rencken authored two books on sexual abuse and a home-study training model published by the American Counseling Association. In 1986, he was named Counselor of the Year by the American Mental Health Counselors Association.
Patti Snyder was the preschool coordinator and director of early childhood programs at the Sunnyside District. She was responsible for securing $30,000 and $50,000 grants for preschool program and staff development opportunities, and she successfully led the way toward voluntary compliance with accreditation standards set by the National Accreditation for the Education of Young Children.
Raúl Bejarano, Ph.D.
Dr. Raúl Bejarano served for seven years as superintendent of Sunnyside, and was named 2006 All-Arizona Superintendent of the Year for Large Districts. Dr. Bejarano led the establishment of the Sunnyside District Learning Community Initiative and the District’s participation in the University of Arizona’s College Academy for Parents.
While spending his entire teaching career at Sunnyside High, Tom Dalrymple was a teacher, football coach, department head, and mentor. He received four Outstanding Educator awards from the district, and was a nominee for the 1987 Arizona Teacher of the Year.
“Uncle Walt” Eidson joined the Sunnyside District in 1962 as an elementary school librarian. An advocate for literacy and personalization, he led the implementation of libraries in all of the district’s elementary schools.
A music teacher in the Sunnyside District for more than 30 years, Thomas O’Kelley began his service at Apollo Middle School, eventually taking a position at Desert View High School when it opened its doors in 1985. The numerous jazz, concert and marching bands under his direction received many awards for their excellence, and Mr. O’Kelley was named Arizona Music Educator of the Year in 1995.
Alan Storm, Ph.D.
Dr. Alan Storm joined the Sunnyside District in 1985 as a school psychologist, later becoming Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. He helped establish the Prevention Office, the Comprehensive Competency-Based Guidance Program, the Family Resource and Wellness Center, the Healthy Kids Dental Program, the standard of a registered nurse in every school, and a partnership with El Rio Health Services.
NJ Utter began her career teaching English at the Sunnyside freshman campus and Desert View High School, and in 1995 became a guidance counselor for Desert View. She led the establishment of Project College Bound and Creative Learning in Alternative Ways. Ms. Utter was named High School Counselor of the Year in 2006 by the Arizona School Counselors Association.
During her 33-year career in the Sunnyside District as a teacher, director and assistant superintendent, Lydia Baker pioneered Career and Technical Education. She continues to serve the Tucson community as a Medicare coordinator for the Pima Council on Aging.
Angie Cathemer is a graduate of Sunnyside High School and the first Mexican-American graduate of the American University College of Education. She has been a teacher, librarian and folklorico director at Mission Manor Elementary for 20 years. Angie is active in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and is a co-founder of the Mission Manor Graffiti Busters.
Lee Gustus began her career in 1959 as a physical education teacher at Sunnyside High. She served as a counselor at Desert View since it opened in 1985. Since retiring seven years ago, she has returned to serve as counselor at Sunnyside and now at Desert View. She has established a new Alumni Association scholarship in memory of her father, Robert, who was a Sunnyside District employee.
Dan Larkin was a football and wrestling star when he was a student at Sunnyside High. He went on to earn a master’s degree in fire service management. Dan served in the Tucson Fire Department for 32 years, before retiring as Assistant Fire Chief earlier this year. Dan is a board member and past president of the Sunnyside Foundation.
Rich Mayorga has been a teacher for 24 years. He has helped build the Sunnyside High Advanced Placement program and founded the Sunnyside Honors Academy. Rich donates all his earnings as DJ Rich to help students and donated his $20,000 award as 2003 Arizona Teacher of the Year for student scholarships.
Robert Arechederra has been a teacher for 31+ years, serving the students and families of Liberty and Los Ranchitos elementary schools. He was involved in the establishment of Head Start, adult education and after-school programs in the Sunnyside District.
Jim & Bonita Garrett
Jim and Bonita Garrett, owners of McDonald’s restaurants for 42 years, have donated more than $50,000 in food annually to local schools, sponsored scholarships and district events, and were founders and supporters of the Sunnyside Foundation.
Mary Giltner has been a teacher at Sunnyside High School since 1970. She is the founder of “Up With Children,” a Career and Technological Education program to prepare students for careers working with young children.
Billy Lane Lauffer
Billy Lane Lauffer, former student and track athlete at Sunnyside High School, was fatally wounded in 1966 while serving his country in Vietnam. In 1968, his family was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Raúl Nido has been the principal of Sunnyside High School since 1990. A former teacher, track coach, and graduate of Sunnyside High, he is an outstanding role model – an innovative educator and tireless activist for his students, staff and the greater community.
Madeline Elizabeth Ferrin Paré began teaching at Sunnyside High School when it was built in 1957. She served there as head of the history department until she was 70. She authored books that were used statewide as history textbooks. Madeline passed away on December 11, 1996.
Brenda Semanick began teaching art at Desert View High School when it opened in 1985. She teaches from the perspective of a lifelong learner. In addition to winning Congressional Arts awards every year, Brenda’s students have gone on to become teachers, artists, architects and photographers.
A graduate of Sunnyside High School, Paul Tang is a judge for the Pima County Superior Court, currently serving on the Juvenile Bench. Among his many contributions to the community, he is a founding member and past president of the Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation.
Diane Bissell is the Manager of Community Relations for Raytheon. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame for establishing partnerships that benefit student achievement in Sunnyside schools and our community.
Carl Brunenkant, the athletic director for Flowing Wells School District, served in the Sunnyside District as a teacher, coach, director of student services and principal at both Sunnyside and Desert View high schools. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to students.
Fred T. Bull
Fred T. Bull started his 39-year career in education at the Sunnyside School District as a boy’s P.E. coach and retired as Superintendent. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his vision and leadership that shaped Sunnyside into the innovative and successful school district that it is today.
Robert De Berry
Coach Robert “Bobby” De Berry has led the Sunnyside High School Blue Devil Wrestling team to winning eight state titles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his ability to teach students that developing the strength of their character is the way to win in life.
Eva Carrillo Dong
Eva Carrillo Dong is an educator at the Pima County juvenile detention center and is serving her second four-year term on the Sunnyside School District Governing Board. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her advocacy of education and revolutionizing the way children are taught in the classroom.
Congressman Raúl Grijalva, a Sunnyside High School alumnus, has served on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, the Pima County Board of Supervisors and now represents the Congressional District where he grew up. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contributions to public education and his advocacy for families.
Richard J. Gonzales
Richard “Rick” Gonzales, a Sunnyside High School alumnus, is a Tucson attorney who represents victims of personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, product liability and negligence. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contributions to his profession, the Sunnyside Foundation, and the Tucson community.
Manuel and Josie Herrera
Manuel “Manny” and Josie Herrera are founding members of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and parents of Sunnyside District alumni. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame for working tirelessly to better the community in which they live and for their outstanding support of public education.
Pamela Lee Hopkins
Pamela Hopkins taught at Sunnyside and Desert View high schools for more than 20 years and emerged as a leader in the fields of gifted and talented education and technology. Pam was inducted into the Hall of Fame for excelling in her field and making many contributions that kept Sunnyside at the forefront of education.
David Levario is a math teacher at Apollo Middle School and a cross-country coach at Desert View High School who does an exceptional job of promoting the benefits of lifelong learning. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his ability to inspire students to achieve their dreams in athletics and in academics.
Representative Linda Lopez, who served as a Sunnyside Governing Board member for 16 years, is the program development coordinator for La Frontera Center and a state representative for District 29. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her outstanding support of children, families and public education at many levels.
Richard Miranda, a Sunnyside High School alumnus, is Tucson’s Chief of Police. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for making significant contributions to his profession and for generously volunteering his time to help many organizations improve our community.
Richard Sanchez is an educator and the head coach of the Sunnyside High School Blue Devil Football team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for leading his team to two state championships and for helping students make significant gains in the classroom by establishing the Academic Compliance Office at Sunnyside High School.
Lew Sorensen was a teacher, principal and superintendent in the Sunnyside School District. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame for making significant contributions to the field of education, and for his outstanding leadership that fostered the Sunnyside District’s success.