Pittsburg Pride Posts

  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Mr. Sean Sturgis, HVAC Technician

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/29/2020


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

    Sean Sturgis


    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.



    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.



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



    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.



    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.  


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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Hilda Porter, Bus Driver

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/22/2020


    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


    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.


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


    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.


    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.


    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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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Amitai Padilla, MTSS Specialist

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 1/6/2020

    Amitai Padilla

    I have grown professionally and as a person in Pittsburg. I also know many others who grew up in Pittsburg and had similar experiences that I did where they flourished in a diverse or larger city. This was partly due to the advantage of living in a diverse community.

    One of Pittsburg's best features is the diverse community! We are very fortunate to have so many countries, cultures, and languages represented in our small city in the East Bay Area. I enjoy learning from all the different cultures around us and am always mindful of the different needs of the groups. I appreciate that we are also able to come together and learn from each other.


    I started working at PUSD after I graduated from PHS! I started as a substitute clerk, aide, and noon duty supervisor. I was in college at the time and I really enjoyed working in my community. At the time, I was volunteering at two places and had another part-time job on top of being a full-time student. Once I finished my A.A. from Los Medanos College, I transfered to San Francisco State University. Even after moving to SF, I stayed working part-time at PUSD as a substitute because I enjoyed it so much! After I graduated with my B.A., doors opened for a full-time position at Marina Vista Elementary. I was so sure I would be happy there, and I was right. I have now had a full-time position at PUSD for over 4 years and have worked for PUSD for a total of 9 years!

    Amitai Padilla, Kristin Wollenweber, Cecilla Valdez


    What I love most about my current position, MTSS Coordinator, is being able to listen to the needs of the school community. I work closely with school administration, school staff, District office staff, families, and partners in the community. It is so inspiring when I see everyone putting their part in to support the students and staff in need.


    One of my beliefs is that people need the correct information at the correct time. I do the best I can to be a resource and provide information and support when it is needed. A large portion of my job is to support families in times of crisis and uncertainty. I have dedicated a large portion of my time to listening to others' needs and help mobilize them. Whether it means to sit and listen to someone in a confidential space or helping them make difficult phone calls. I do as much as possible for the family, so they feel empowered to make next steps happen.

    The most rewarding part is definitely when I see the students and families that I supported make it farther than they were before! I don't think anything else makes me happier than to see the students and families get ahead and make changes in their lives for the best.

    Amitai Padilla and Rose Henderson ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?
    I am very humbled to be honored and to be of service of PUSD families. I appreciate the support and trust that my current and previous supervisors and school administrators have given me. The freedom they gave me when I first started full-time helped me develop into who I am today. Thank you and Go Pirates!

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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Mr. Arturo Fernandez, 1st grade teacher at Parkside Elementary School

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 12/20/2019

    Arturo Fernandez Why Do You Have Pittsburg Pride?
    Growing up in Pittsburg it’s hard not to have pride. My parents both grew up in Pittsburg, and I saw the pride in them. My mother, Shirley Archuleta, is a retired Oncology Nurse. When we would go to the store, she would see someone she knows and talk to them for what seemed like an eternity. People knew my mom was a nurse and would confide their health concerns or their family’s ailments; they wanted and trusted her opinion. That showed me at a young age that Pittsburg residents took care of each other.

    My father, Jack Fernandez, is the kind of guy that everyone in Pittsburg knows. I’ve seen how he gives back to the community of Pittsburg, through many years of coaching. My dad has been on the booster committee for the Pittsburg High football team for over 20 years! I have accompanied him to booster events many times and when I see fellow Pittsburg High alumni give back at these events, it encourages me to do the same. Giving his time to the town he loves brings him a lot of happiness and I admire him for that.

    When I am asked why I have Pittsburg Pride, I have to say it was modeled my entire life by my parents. I saw their love for this town, and I wanted to do the same. Pittsburg is a small town and still has that “small-town” feel.

    Arturo Fernandez Why Pittsburg? How is Pittsburg Different from Other Communities?
    “Pittsburg looks out for Pittsburg,” is a saying I have heard for most of my life. I can attest that it is not just a saying, it really happens…in many ways, which I’ll try to illustrate below.


    I remember feeling proud in school, knowing many of the faculty members knew my family. It was a sense of community that gave me a better learning experience. Growing up, we always went to Pittsburg High football games. We would sit with family and friends to watch the game. I remember being mesmerized on Friday nights with the game, the band, and the chants. It’s a Pittsburg Pride feeling you get. But, besides just connecting through athletics, we also connect when there’s a time of need. I have personally witnessed people come together to raise money for fellow community members with outstanding hospital bills.


    Within the school community, while working at Parkside, I’ve seen a whole other side of giving back. I’ve seen staff give extra backpacks, clothing, and school supplies to students in need. We have sponsored families during the holidays by providing meals and gifts. It is amazing to see our community so willing to give and look out for each other.


    Arturo Fernandez You Graduated from Pittsburg High, Right? Why Did You Decide to Come Back to Your Hometown and Teach?
    I graduated in the class of 1999 from Pittsburg High School. During my time as a student in PUSD, I had some amazing teachers that taught me more than just the standards. After I graduated, I wanted to do the same. Like my parents instilled Pittsburg Pride in me, this is my way of giving back to a town that helped raise me. Teaching at Parkside has been a fit because I’m constantly reminded about the importance of family and what this small town represents.


    What Do You Love Most About Your Job?
    The part of my job I love the most is getting to know my students. Each student has their own unique personality. Using their personality and interests to teach them is rewarding. We have amazing students that come in and out of our school district. It is an amazing and proud feeling to be greeted with joy from a current or former student at the store or outside of school.


    Arturo Fernandez How Do You Try to Inspire Others?
    I inspire others by talking to them and getting to know them. You can get to know students by listening and watching their actions. As an educator, you want to find what motivates students, and you build from that to inspire them.


    What is Most Rewarding About Your Time at PUSD?
    In my first year of teaching, I was not at Parkside. I taught fifth grade and did not have any books for my class library. Word got back to the librarian at Parkside and she rallied the teachers and staff to help me out. A few days later, I received seven boxes of books for my class library. I appreciated the support from Parkside and will never forget this act of kindness.

    Anything You Want to Add?
    I have worked with many amazing people throughout my years as a substitute and full-time teacher. These educators have inspired and motivated me to elevate myself as a teacher. I want to give a shout-out to all of the past and present teachers I have had the honor to learn from. You are some of the most amazing teachers! Thank you, for making me strive to be the best teacher I can be.

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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ms. Alejandra Esqueda, MTSS Specialist

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 12/10/2019

    Ale Esqueda Why Do You Have Pittsburg Pride?
    Pittsburg is a huge part of who I am. I have lived in Pittsburg my entire life! I attended Parkside Elementary, Central Jr. High, and Pittsburg High. I had a positive experience growing up in Pittsburg and now working here. Both combined have instilled a great sense of pride in my heart for the place that I’m from. I am fortunate to be from here and now given the chance to give back. The youth in our schools are such wonderful young people with so much to give and I love that!


    Why Pittsburg? How is Pittsburg Different from Other Communities?
    Pittsburg is a great representation of a “melting pot” with such a diverse population and as diverse as it is, we are a pretty close-knit community. I feel we are a community that is welcoming, safe, and pleasant.


    Did You Graduate from Pittsburg High? If So, Why Did You Decide to Work in Your Hometown?
    I am indeed a proud Pittsburg High graduate (Class of 2006!). Go Pirates! I have been working with youth for 13 years and in PUSD schools for 10 years. I just love working in my hometown. It was actually in high school that I found my calling in life and decided to work with youth. I knew I wanted to become the best version of myself so that I could one day become an example and mentor for young people in my community. The joy and benefits I received from my educational experience here in Pittsburg are immeasurable, so I want to give back to my community and school district. Working in my hometown has aided me in my service because I am part of the same diverse culture my youth are from; therefore, I can understand them better.


    Ale Esqueda in reflection room with students What Do You Love Most About Your Job?
    I do not see what I do as merely a job; it is more of an opportunity. Each day I am met with countless opportunities to truly make an impact. My job is to help put supports in place for our at-risk or most vulnerable students. I strive to do this by reaching students in their classrooms, in the After School Programs, or in the dance/sports programs I coach. Additionally, I enjoy teaching students relaxation and reflective activities in the Reflection Room at Willow Cove Elementary School. It is a new room we opened to provide a safe and peaceful place on our site where students can come when they are having a rough day or conflicts. Every day is different and I love it! I aim to help build independent, confident students and leaders. It’s amazing for us all to watch the shy, quiet youth unfold into confident young people. Also, I want to point out that every day I come to work, I am met by so many encouraging people who have the same aspirations I do. There are so many amazing people to learn from in PUSD.




    Ms. Ale and co-workers How Do You Try to Inspire Others?
    Those who know me or have worked alongside me know that I truly believe in the potential and future of every person. Something I remind others is that our youth are not “just kids” as some describe them. Our youth are young people with great potential; they are future adults who can bring something special to others. I want others to also know this and I model it by setting high expectations for our youth. I help guide them in their journeys by teaching them about hard work. I seek to inspire youth by reminding them that I believe in them and that they can do anything they put their minds and hearts into. I make sure the students know that I care for them and their future. I want to inspire others in PUSD to work hard in making a difference in young people’s lives because every young person in our district deserves it.




    Ale Esqueda at cheer practice What is Most Rewarding About Your Time at PUSD?
    I am blessed each day with opportunities to have a positive impact on someone’s day and that has been the most rewarding of all. Knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life, or even just their day, is fulfilling on so many levels. Some days are tough, but I know at the end of each day that what I do for youth is something good and I feel proud of that. In addition, working in PUSD schools and closely with students and their families, I’ve been blessed with becoming a member of so many families. I genuinely feel so honored and fortunate to be backed by the love and trust of so many people with their children.

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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Heidi Leber, Principal, Hillview

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/30/2019

    Heidi Leber Why Pittsburg? 

    I was born and raised in Pittsburg and am extremely proud of our community. Prior to becoming a Principal at Hillview, I was an English and AVID teacher at Pittsburg High School and a Vice-Principal at Hillview. Not only have I worked in Pittsburg for the past 24 years, but I am also a product of Pittsburg Unified. I attended Highlands Elementary, Central Jr. High School, and graduated from Pittsburg High. I raised my daughter in Pittsburg and am proud that she is also a Pittsburg High graduate.


    How is Pittsburg Different from Other Communities? 

    Pittsburg Unified has been a great foundation for many of my friends and family members, giving opportunities to create life-changing experiences that help shape this community in which we live and work. I love how diverse our students and families are about their cultures, and how willing they are to be accepting of others who come from different backgrounds.


    Heidi Leber with Vice-Principals What is Most Rewarding about Your Time at PUSD?

    Because I have been a part of PUSD for so long, I have the honor of seeing the successes of former students come back from college, from career opportunities, as parents of current PUSD students. I truly believe that the best thing we can do for our students is to give them choices. In order to inspire our students, we need to connect learning in the classroom to real-world, future goals and dreams.


    Why Do You Have Pittsburg Pride?

    I love being able to work in a community in which I grew up and see how much our Pittsburg community continues to give and inspire those around us. Once a pirate, always a pirate!


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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Ana Perez, Parent and Family Liaison at MLK

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/25/2019


    Why Do You Have Pittsburg Pride?

    In years past, I always enjoyed coming to Pittsburg on vacation to visit my brother and his family. After relocating here, the Pittsburg community took my heart… the green hills, the events, and the diversity. I started having a sense of belonging, a sense of pride.


    Ana Perez Why Pittsburg? How is Pittsburg Different from Other Communities?


    I was born and raised in Meoqui Chihuahua, Mexico. I attended the local public schools there and obtained a B.A. in Education from The Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua. I was a teacher in Mexico and taught Spanish and History for 10 years. In 1996, I immigrated to the United States from Chihuahua, where I had lived for 33 years. After moving to Pittsburg, I started volunteering in the schools my children attended (Highlands, Hillview, and Pittsburg High). My heart was always full of joy, looking at how principals and teachers dedicated their time and effort to all scholars.





    What Do You Love Most About Your Job?


    Ana Perez at podium When I had my 4th child in preschool, I started volunteering more in the preschool classroom, and my teaching spirit made me get a job there. While working in the preschool program for three years, I saw many parents struggling, like me, to communicate with their teachers in English. I decided it was time for me to go to Pittsburg Adult Education Center (PAEC) to learn more English and help the families. I started translating for them in schools, at ELAC meetings, and other school events. I attended Los Medanos College and took child development classes to obtain my California Teaching Credential as a preschool teacher. But, instead of teaching preschool, I took a job in 2005 with Pittsburg Unified School District as a teacher’s aide at Foothill Elementary. A few years later, I became a parent coordinator at Foothill.


    The parent coordinator position evolved into my current role, Parent and Family Liaison. With the name change and new duties came more involvement and more opportunities for me to help families to learn, to get involved, and to advocate for their children. This is my 14th year working for Pittsburg Unified District, and every day it still feels like the 1st day. I spent 7 years at Foothill Elementary and have been in my current position at Martin Luther King Jr. JHS for 7 years.

    My passion was always teaching; however, once I became a Parent Coordinator/Parent and Family Liaison, something clicked, I knew this is what I was called to do. Working with families, the school staff, and the scholars…and helping them to become successful in life, makes me feel more complete. I love to help and serve my families. Now, I can say Pittsburg is my home and I have Pittsburg Pride.


    Ana Perez How Do You Try to Inspire Parents?


    Parents inspire me to bring out the best in me!


    What is Most Rewarding about Your Time at PUSD?


    Working and getting to know the families is always the reward. When I see their children growing and doing well, I feel so accomplished. I especially feel proud when I greet parents at stores in the community…and they still remember how much I care for them and their families.

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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Rose Henderson, Parent and Family Liaison at Heights

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 10/3/2019

    Rose Henderson next to Attendance Matters Bulletin Board Why Do You Have Pittsburg Pride?

    I have Pittsburg Pride because of the teamwork, can-do attitude of my co-workers, and the deep respect I have for all of the administrators. I have worked for more than 22 years at PUSD and have deep roots in this community.

    Why Pittsburg? How is Pittsburg Different from Other Communities?

    I have lived in Pittsburg for about 30 years. All five of my children attended Heights Elementary and Pittsburg schools. My granddaughter currently attends Rancho Medanos Junior High School. I really enjoy the positive attributes of living in a small town; we know each other and look out for one another.

    What Do You Love Most About Your Job?

    I love my job because of my connection to the Heights community. I am fortunate to live and work in the same neighborhood.

    How Do You Try to Inspire?

    I try to be of service to our Heights families in any way that I can. I am happy to be supportive of our families and scholars by tapping into different community resources. By bringing resources to my Heights families, I try to make sure all our scholars have what they need to be successful in school.

    What is Most Rewarding About Your Time with PUSD?

    I have been taught so much about what it takes to educate and provide emotional support to our scholars. I am grateful for the experiences I have had and the many life-long friendships.

    Rose Henderson sitting in school garden Anything You Want to Add?

    It is a privilege to work on this campus and in this building. We have murals and a beautifully maintained garden that I visit often. Thank you for recognizing my part in Team PUSD.

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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Phil Lucido, Vice Principal, Hillview

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 9/20/2019

    Phil Lucido, Vice Principal in front of Hillivew JHS

    Why Do You Have Pittsburg Pride?

    I have had the honor of working with Pittsburg Unified School District for the past 22 years. I have seen our school district and community grow together through exceptional support for our students and families. I take pride in being an educator and administrator for Pittsburg Unified. I believe making lasting relationships with students, parents, and colleagues makes a better community for learning. I have Pittsburg Pride because I have grown as an educator and feel I am a part of our young scholars' developmental years that will support their future growth as life-long learners.

    Why Pittsburg? How is Pittsburg Different from Other Communities?

    Pittsburg is a community that wants the best for their children. I chose this community because my parents and grandparents were raised here and Pittsburg has so much pride and tradition. Pittsburg is different from other communities because families embrace each other when they know you care for them and their families.

    Phil with Martha Campos and Heidi Leber What Do You Love Most About Your Job?

    I love my job at Hillview because I feel the students, staff, and families have embraced my leadership and we have built trust and community that makes me have a sense of belonging. I am so thankful to get the opportunity to work with many of my former students' children and reconnect with the strong family ties to Pittsburg.

    How Do You Try to Inspire Scholars?

    I inspire students to come with a positive attitude every day, despite the challenges that many of our scholars face. I also try to inspire our scholars by leading by example. This means coming to school with a positive attitude and showing every scholar that you believe in them and are willing to go the extra mile for students that really need you.

    Phil with Summer Math Teacher What is Most Rewarding About Your Time at Hillview?

    The most rewarding time at Hillview is creating lasting relationships with students, staff, and parents that build trust and respect for each other. The last five years at Hillview, I have supported students by being on our Community of Service Team (COST) and applied Restorative Justice practices to assist scholars in resolving conflict. I have also been involved with Professional Development for our staff around Understanding by Design and Site Safety.

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  • Pittsburg Pride Post: Antonio Baldazo, PHS Grad

    Posted by Nicole Mora on 2/2/2019

    Anthony Baldazo in cap and gown


    When did you graduate? How did your time at PHS help prepare you for your career?

    I graduated from PHS in 2014. I played football and wrestled at PHS. The balance of school and sports taught me how to manage my time. Along with managing my time, I learned that having the skills and brains is only half the work. In order to succeed, you can't be lazy and complacent. You must complete all the work you are assigned and build relationships with your superiors.

    Anthony Baldazo in football uniform

    What has your career path been like? Where is your new job?

    I went through Cal Poly and had internships in Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, and finally Construction Management. For myself, third time was the charm. I found that Construction Management was the career that I loved the most. After interviewing with many companies, I found a job with Clark Construction in Washington DC.

    Were you inspired by any of your teachers or experiences at PUSD?

    While at PHS, I took an Architectural Design that led to me deciding on Cal Poly and Architectural Engineering. I was really helped by Natalie Moreno who was my biology teacher. She assisted me with my college essays and gave me general advice on schools.

    Why do you have Pittsburg Pride?

    I've lived in Pittsburg my entire life. I've played sports since all the way from Pittsburg JFL to senior year high school. I've seen the dedication that people have to this town. In turn, I also have tried to show my dedication to the town. I have worked for the local book store and farmer's market in order to contribute to the community. I love this town and while it saddens me to leave, I am trying to represent this town as well as possible.

    Why is Pittsburg different/special from other communities?

    Being from Pittsburg, we all live with a chip on our shoulder. As the phrase goes, we're Pittsburg Tough. This toughness is what bonds us all together. We are unafraid of a challenge and never back down. Pittsburg isn't only a community, its a family.

    Anything you want to add?

    If I could give any advice to those at PHS, I would tell them to see the world outside of Pittsburg so you can truly appreciate all that this city gives us. My time in Australia was the best time of my life but it also showed me that Pittsburg, CA was such a great place to grow up.

    anthony baldazo sitting on outdoor steps

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