Hall of Fame Inductees

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 2013 Inductees

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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE
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. READ MORE


 2012 Inductees

Paul DyePaul 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.

Norma GarciaNorma 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.

Jim HeintzSally 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.

Sally HansenJim 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.

Kathy Ross HernandezKathy Ross Hernandez, a 1969 Sunnyside alum, former Sunnyside Foundation treasurer and community volunteer who exemplifies Sunnyside spirit and service to her community.

Chief Armando LiendoChief 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.

Dwight ReesDwight 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.


 2011 Inductees

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


2010 Inductees

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.


2009 Inductees

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.

René Rodriguez
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.

Sue Tillis
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.

Susan Masek
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.

Carol Roos
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.

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.


2008 Inductees

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

Lynne Dailey
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.

Jim Mielke
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.

Gene Repola
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

Patti Snyder
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.

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.

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.

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.

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


2007 Inductees

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.

Walt Eidson
“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.

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.


Tom Dalrymple
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.

Thomas O’Kelley
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.

NJ Utter
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.

2006 Inductees

Lydia Baker
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.

Lee Gustus
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.

Rich Mayorga
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.

Angie Cathemer
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.

Dan Larkin
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.

2005 Inductees

Robert Arechederra
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.

Mary Giltner
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.

Raúl Nido
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.

Brenda Semanick
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.

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.

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.

Madeline Paré
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.

Paul Tang
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.

2004 Inductees

Diane Bissell
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Linda Lopez
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 Sanchez
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.


Carl Brunenkant
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.

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.

Raúl Grijalva
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.

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.

David Levario
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.

Richard Miranda
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.

Lew Sorensen
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.