Pittsburg Pride Posts

  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Donald Lloyd, Head Custodian Heights Elementary

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 5/12/2021

     

    Meet Donald Lloyd, Head Custodian Heights Elementary

     

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    I have Pittsburg Pride because this is a great organization.

    Donald Lloyd

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg, to me, is more family orientated

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    I work in Pittsburg because it's where I reside.

     
    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    Being able to interact with the children is what I enjoy most about my job.

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I try to inspire others by being pleasant to people.

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    It is rewarding to feel the energy and the love from other co- workers and staff members.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Anna Gabriela Velásquez, Willow Cove Elementary Teacher

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 4/13/2021

     

    Meet Anna Gabriela Velásquez,
    5th Grade Dual Immersion Teacher
    Willow Cove Elementary School

     

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    I have spent most of my life here in Pittsburg. I was a student at Stoneman Elementary, a member of the GATE program hosted at Willow Cove in 2004, part of the last class promoted from Central Jr. High School in 2008, and finally part of Pittsburg High School's class of 2012. I also got to learn more about the city as a member of the Pride of Pittsburg, the Pittsburg High School Marching Show Band. Wherever life has taken me, I’ve always been led back here… This is home!

    Anna Gabriela Velásquez

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Aside from Pittsburg being my home, I love that I have always had a diverse community surrounding me. Being a first-generation American, I spent my early years mainly embracing my Guatemalan culture. Although it is who I am and I love every bit of it, I’m thankful to have learned so much from my friends that all came from different cultures and backgrounds. Growing up in Pittsburg meant hearing different languages, tasting different foods, listening to all kinds of music, and seeing different family traditions right in my neighborhood and schools. It helped me grow into a person that now wants to see that for the future generations in my family and wherever I go.

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    Right after high school, I attended Los Medanos College. I became a tutor for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade throughout all of PUSD. As many college students do, I swayed back and forth between the professions I would be pursuing. Working with the children in this district very early in my career made any other option difficult to choose. Since then, I’ve felt called to be a teacher. Once I transferred to San Francisco State University, I worked as a tutor and mentor for High School juniors and seniors in San Francisco. I loved every moment of it, but I always thought back of my experiences with my teachers in Pittsburg. I would think of how my math teacher, Mr. Butterfield, would help me with my calculus classes even while I was in college and he had 6 classes of students of his own and how my english teacher, Mr. Pyle, would always cheer on my small milestones throughout my young adulthood (and still does). My teachers really impacted my understanding of the word “community” and I knew that I wanted to work for this district that continuously molded me into the person that I am today so I could instill those values in the future generations in Pittsburg, as well.

     
    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    I definitely love my students! They are so funny, smart, and witty. I love having the opportunity to teach them so they can get one step closer to being biliterate. The families I’ve worked with have been great! The cherry on top of working in a great community?! My awesome coworkers. I began my career at PUSD as a substitute teacher. Willow Cove’s staff was always kind and willing to help me throughout my whole journey to where I’m at now. I am very grateful to be part of such a wonderful team.

     

    Anna Gabriela Velásquez HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I don’t know if I necessarily inspire others, although I hope that my students are inspired every day. I love celebrating my students and their successes! It is my goal for my students to know about the world outside of this small town. As much as I love Pittsburg, I want to make sure that my students leave my class with an understanding of what is just so that they may continue to build on that as they grow up. I want them to learn about inclusion, diversity, about the importance of black and indigenous people of color in our communities and how they help shape our society. I want to make sure that they feel empowered every day in my classroom so that they may empower those around them wherever they go. I don't know if I necessarily do anything specific, but I hope that inspiration is found along the way!

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    The most rewarding thing is seeing how my students have grown as people and scholars by the end of the school year! This is only my 3rd year teaching, but it has been a great treat having my students that are now in 6th grade email me to say hello and to tell me about their experiences in junior high. I can't wait to see them continue to succeed throughout their schooling within PUSD.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Jennifer Bowen, Heights Elementary Teacher

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 3/10/2021

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    I love my school, Heights. I have worked here for 17 years. I consider our staff to be my friends and my family: it is truly my home. Being away from everything this year has been very difficult but it has made me realize how important my school and Pittsburg are to me. I love organizing events for our community, which has also been difficult this year. So, instead, I have helped organize Latino Cultural Month and Black History Month Bitmoji classrooms with Family Scavenger Hunts. 

    Jennifer Bowen

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg is a very strong community. I love that there is "Pittsburg Pride" all the way from pre-school to high school. I get teary eyed every time I see Pitt High's marching band. I have never lived or worked in a place with such a strong sense of community. 

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    I came to Pittsburg by accident, actually. I had friends who were student teachers here and they gave my name to a principal. 17 years later, I wouldn't trade my job for anything.

     
    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    I love my students. I love their honesty, and I love to watch their face as "the light goes on." 

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I hope I inspire parents and students because school wasn't always easy for me. As a person with learning disabilities, I can relate to how students and parents feel when they are having a difficult time. I often tell parents about my disability and that I went on to get a masters degree, so that they understand a diagnosis isn't the end for their student's academic career but a very helpful tool. I also hope I inspire others with Distance Learning this year. I prefer students in person, but I am making the best of it. I have tried my best to keep my class fully engaged and to support my grade level. 

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    The most rewarding thing about my time at PUSD is having students come back and visit me; it fills my heart. I also really enjoy when another teacher says that they remember an ELD training I have presented and that they enjoyed it. 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ernestina Chamorro, Parent Liaison

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 2/24/2021

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    As a member of this great and diverse community, I am proud of the resiliency that our community has developed. Regardless of challenges, Pittsburg community members unite to overcome adversity.

    Enestina

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg has adopted me and therefore it is my home. I will always do what is needed to support our families. Pittsburg’s families have demonstrated faith in our schools, shown their enthusiasm, dedication, and collaboration to help us grow and become one community and that marks the difference from other communities.

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    My children were raised in Pittsburg and they attended Pittsburg schools. Prior to working for PUSD, I was a parent volunteer for many years. Through my volunteering work, I became aware of the community’s needs and when the opportunity to serve the Pittsburg community came up, I took on my work commitment with pride. Working in Pittsburg was a good decision and has been a great way to give back to community that I respect and love!

     
    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    By nature, I have a collaborative heart and am passionate to help others. I want to help bring significant positive changes to someone’s life. My job as Parent and Family Liaison requires me to have that kind of spirit and heart, so it is a perfect fit. My job is all about helping, supporting, advocating, and making changes in people’s homes. The experiences and outcomes I witness help keep me inspired and committed to do my job.

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I inspire others through my dedication, enthusiasm, and by having a positive attitude. Through the facilitation of different workshops within the district, parents can see my genuineness. I empower them to learn more about the school system, and I share how to advocate for their student, to make sure they succeed academically and socially in our schools.

    Ernestina  

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    The daily interaction with PUSD families has helped me grow and expand in other areas. Troubleshooting parent issues and bringing them solutions matters to me. I have also created meaningful relationships with the families I serve and coworkers throughout the district.

     

    ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

    It is a pleasure serving PUSD families, and I will continue with my dedication, like if my time will never end.

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Abraham Abullarade, Full Service Community School Site Coordinator

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 1/13/2021

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    As a resident of Contra Costa County, I am proud to work in a city and school district that cares deeply about ensuring equity and academic excellence through a whole child approach. I am deeply grateful to be part of the Pittsburg “village” that cultivates a culture where students are empowered to become the future community leaders here in the local area.

    Abraham

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg is distinct from other communities through its deep sense of legacy and pride. After starting with PUSD I immediately noticed how the community works together for collective impact. Everyone bands together to ensure that we achieve our mission of creating life-long learners who contribute positively to the world. The sense of pride in Pittsburg also gives it a distinct flavor and is made evident by the generations of families who are rooted in the city and work towards a flourishing and vibrant community.

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    I have been passionate about the Community Schools initiative for more than 10 years and have seen the model in several school districts in the Bay Area. Pittsburg showed me the power of community in Community Schools through its diverse, united, and resilient students, families, educators, and community members.

     
    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    The relationships that I have made within the PUSD family is what I love most about my job. Through my co-workers I have learned that life-long learning is not just a goal for our students but also something we encourage amongst each other. I have also been fortunate enough to be around people who love 90’s Hip Hop and R&B as much as I do and enjoy a good laugh.

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    Growing up, I had positive mentors who were quick to point out my strengths and gifts even when I didn’t see them in myself. That fuels me to celebrate the successes of others and identify the potential I see in our students. I also draw plenty of inspiration from my co-workers, students, wife and daughter!

    Young Men of Purpose (YMP) mentoring program at Highlands Elementary  

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    The most rewarding aspect so far has been my role in the inaugural Young Men of Purpose (YMP) mentoring program at Highlands Elementary. The program focuses on character, citizenship, and academics and aims to inspire young men to effectively manage their lives, overcome obstacles, and pursue their goals. Our sessions would be the highlight of my week as the group engaged in community building activities and discussed successes and challenges. The spontaneous visits from former YMP students and their parents have also impressed upon me that PUSD is a family where we encourage each other.

     

    ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

    It is a tremendous privilege and honor to work at PUSD. I look forward to continuing to serve and learn from our community. All while occasionally quoting song lyrics and random scenes from The Office.

    Abraham and Family

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Luz Aguilar-Ferrell, English Language Coordinator

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 1/7/2021

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    Pittsburg is a diverse and invested community and I feel that I am part of it.

    Ms. Luz Aguilar-Ferrell


    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg was my home for about 10 years and it treated me well. Based on that and despite the fact that we moved out, I wanted to continue supporting Highlands Elementary parent community and its staff anyway possible.

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    I was given the opportunity to work in Pittsburg based on my bilingual skills to support with the English Learner Program as well as our Spanish speaking families. I took on the task because I was drawn to serve as a link to facilitate communication between school and families, so parents, in turn, could support their students.

     

    Ms. Luz Aguilar-Ferrell


    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    My role has grown through the 21 years that I have served in the district. I continue assisting our Spanish speaking families as well as many others. I appreciate the trust that families and staff have placed on me to support and/or troubleshoot needs and issues, and to have the freedom to initiate and explore different ways to offer extra support where needed. Being part of a supporting team when completing tasks is also very rewarding.

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I do not know that I inspire others. However, I am an active participant within our school and family community. My hope is that it leads to increased positive outcomes for all of our stakeholders.

     

    Ms. Luz Aguilar-Ferrell

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    I feel that my work and interaction with the Highlands school community has enabled me to grow at a personal level. Learning about our families strengths and character, has allowed me to expand my areas of reach to better serve them. I believe I have created meaningful relationships with families and their students as well as coworkers and staff throughout the district.

     

    ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

    I will continue working with the Pittsburg School District until they decide to get rid of me :)

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Kristi Walton, Music Teacher at Los Medanos Elementary

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 12/8/2020

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    My mother and father moved my sister and I to Pittsburg when I was almost 5 years old. I attended Parkside Elementary School, where I discovered a love of music. I fell in love with music because of Mr. French. When musicians from Hillview Junior High came to our campus to show off their band, I knew I had to be a part of that. I went on to Hillview Junior High and music saved me from the crippling anxiety I had about going to a new school, where I knew no one. I continued Band and was a member of the Pride of Pittsburg, The Pirates Marching Show Band with Mr. Cross. I have had other great music instructors, but these men started me off on my music path. This is where my Pittsburg Pride started and where it still comes from today.

    Kristi Walton


    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg, although still growing in population all the time, still feels like a small community in many ways. There are still small businesses where I shop (I went to school with the owners) and fun downtown experiences. For example, I can take my own daughters to the Ice Rink or the Holiday Parade. But, what I really like about Pittsburg is the diversity of its residents. We are all different, yet, for the most part, we walk down the street and nod or say good morning to each other. There is a true family feeling of unity within the school community and the neighborhood community in which I live. The city itself is also nestled between the hills and the Delta. All of these reasons combined are what I believe makes Pittsburg special.

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    I have lived and gone to Pittsburg schools since 1978. Even after I graduated and went off to college, I still returned to the Pittsburg schools where my mother, Patti LaValley, worked and I volunteered. I knew the people who worked within PUSD. They were my friends, and after I graduated college, they became my colleagues. By working for PUSD, I feel I am giving back to the community where I grew up. I am helping make kids feel safe and accepted, the way Mr. McKay and Mr. Cross made me feel. I am paying my community back for all it has given me.

     

    Kristi Walton selfie with students


    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    This is my twenty-first year teaching with PUSD. My job, especially now that I teach music, is so rewarding. I loved teaching first grade and seeing students' eyes light up when they understood a concept, but music has always been my love. I don't do well with big changes, so going to new schools was hard for me as a child. Music was my connection at every school. Now, I teach music and I try to instill that love in my students. Whether its through instrumental music and teaching band, through vocal music and teaching choir, or just sitting with a class and explaining how the song Sleigh Ride works, I enjoy seeing my class get excited to participate in the lesson. I love that they are enthusiastic to come to class, both when we were doing live instruction on campus and even now, when we are are doing lessons remotely (on the computer). Even during Distance Learning, they are still excited to come and see me on Zoom.

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I don't know how much I inspire others. If I do, it's through the small things. Taking a six-year-old's hand and making her feel safe as we skate during a field trip, explaining to a band member how to better their sound, or just being there to listen when a student needs an ear and shoulder to lean on, I am there for them. I think maybe they inspire me and it just goes full circle.

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    My most rewarding thing about my time at PUSD is watching my own daughters grow up in the same district that I grew up attending. I have come full circle now watching my oldest daughter, Ella, be a part of the Pride of Pittsburg, The Pirates Marching Show Band. I get to see it all again through the eyes of my daughters.

     

    ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

    Thank you to a community that has been there for me through good times and hard; I can't thank you all enough.

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Melanie Bruno, School Clerk II at Parkside Elementary

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 12/4/2020

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    I was born and raised in Pittsburg. I am a 4th generation PUSD employee (starting with my great grandfather - Original head custodian at the original Central JH), Parkside Alumni (K-5th), I went from one side of the counter to the other. I tell Mr. Varner, "You're stuck with me!" Pittsburg High School graduation class of 2000. Once a Pirate - Always a Pirate!!

    Melanie Bruno


    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg is one of the most diverse, hard working communities. I get to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the Bay Area, between Mt. Diablo and the Delta.


    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    Growing up, my parents instilled morals of hard work, love, Italian/Sicilian traditions, and faith. Following in their footsteps, I started as an instructional aide over 15 years ago and was able to work my way up. Working with the kids has been very rewarding for me, they keep me grounded.

     

    Melanie Bruno


    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    I love working with the children, they remind me every day to enjoy the simple things in life. I love working with such an awesome team of positive people. I have the best bosses in the world, Mr. Varner and Ms. Ireland!

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I think I inspire others to do the right thing, be kind, do the things you love, be able to laugh at yourself, and stay positive. I love being artistic with photography, coloring, and Color Street nails. I think this allows me to inspire others to express themselves artistically.

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    Seeing the smiles on the kids' faces makes me smile. Watching them grow, learn, and mature makes me proud. I love it when I make phone calls and former students, who haven't heard my voice in 10 years, know who I am before I even announce myself. They know my voice and they tell me how they remember me cleaning their scrapes at recess or helping them with another issue. It makes me feel like I made a difference.

     

    ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

    #ParksideRules

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Mr. Sean Sturgis, HVAC Technician

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/29/2020

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    I have Pittsburg Pride because I was born and raised in Pittsburg.

    Sean Sturgis

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg has so much diversity in its schools and is the most diverse city in the Bay Area, in my opinion. As far as I can remember, we've always had a variety of ethnic groups in Pittsburg. In the 1980's, neighboring towns had very few African American football players on their high school teams, but in Pittsburg this was different. We have been an understanding and family oriented community for many, many years.

     

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    Pittsburg is where my family lives. My teammate’s kids go to the school in Pittsburg and my classmate's kids are here. When I started working for PUSD, people like Joanie Orlando (cafeteria worker) and Mr. Phil Webb (Pittsburg High) were still working here and I remember them from when I was a student. The longevity of those who work for PUSD  make it a place that feels like home. When you think of your teammate's or classmate's kids as family, you go the extra mile to fix things for them, because it is personal. I take a lot of pride in my work.

     

    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    I see my job as a way of giving back. Accomplishing something or fixing things for students and staff feels good.

     

    HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I try and inspire other by leading by example. I try and work hard at my job, to the best of my ability. I try not to be verbal, but my hope is that I inspire with my actions.

     

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    I think the most rewarding thing is twofold. I love giving back to my community by being the best HVAC technician I can be. It feels good know that the students and staff have cool and warm temperatures in their classrooms.

    The second most rewarding thing about my job at PUSD is creating friendships with co-workers. Not just co-workers in my department, but coworkers throughout the district...support staff and teachers. PUSD is a great community to work in.  

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Hilda Porter, Bus Driver

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/22/2020

    WHY DO YOU HAVE PITTSBURG PRIDE?

    I’ve been in Pittsburg my whole life. I was raised here, and received my education from Village, Heights, Los Medanos, Hillview and finally Pittsburg High School, graduating in 1982. While residing in Pittsburg, I have acquired many friends from all ethnic backgrounds and love them all.

    Hilda Porter

    WHY PITTSBURG? HOW IS PITTSBURG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES?

    Pittsburg is wonderful in so many ways. The beautiful difference here from many other cities is the diversity in our community. Families have lived here for generations and generations, and we don’t see the differences in one another. All cultures are so appreciative of each other.

    WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN PITTSBURG?

    I had children, and since I was living in Pittsburg, I felt working in town was such a great opportunity and blessing.

    WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

    My job gave me a lot of time with my children. My breaks were the same as their school breaks, such as summer and all holidays. Being a bus driver allowed me to be on my children's field trips, including fieldtrips for my friends' children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. It was awesome to be part of their time and to see their excitement, especially for the Barrel trips and sporting events. To be a part of these moments with the students is a wonderful thing to me. I get to see every emotion, whether it be good, bad, happy, or sad – I am part of that experience. I am able to talk with the students about their achievements. And, when it is not a great outcome, I am there with them.

    Hilda Porter with students HOW DO YOU INSPIRE OTHERS?

    I think I try to inspire others by being positive and uplifting. I’m not sure if that is inspiring, but I try to give a good impression, treat them as I want to be treated, always smile, and work willingly with others.

    WHAT IS MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR TIME AT PUSD?

    Seeing students that have riden my bus find their place in life. Every once in a while a former student will tell me, “Mrs. Hilda, I did what you told me and it worked! Thanks!” Or, I get a wave from them or a parent who has trust in me, knowing I would and will do everything I can to get their child to and from school safely. My relationship with students is genuine.

    ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

    I work with wonderful people. I have been working for PUSD for 21 years. From my first day to present, I have had great relationships with my supervisors and all staff members, Principals, Vice Principals, Teachers, Aides, Coaches, Mechanics, Groundskeepers, Custodians – all of them, and they all have Pittsburg Pride.  There is no other place like Pittsburg. It has deep roots of family; you can tell when someone is from Pittsburg just by their behavior. There’s no other place like Pittsburg – once a Pirate – always a Pirate –Pittsburg Pride!

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