Celebrating Sofia Mackey as one of two June Teachers of the Month

As the school year winds down, it gives us a time to reflect on the many different challenges and successes of a year that has been topsy-turvy, to say the least. While we think about things we have learned, we are also able to think about the people we have come to rely on when things have gotten tough, and how we will ever be able to repay them for their unending support  and dedication. This is one reason why we are ecstatic to announce that Sofia Mackey of Bret Harte Elementary School is one of our June Teachers of the Month! 

Celebrating Sofia Mackey as one of two June Teachers of the Month
Photograph of Sofia in their classroom. Sofia is posing by the classroom door, next to a student desk and a sign reading “This Week in Room 115.” Their classroom is adorned with green LED lights, green butcher paper on the walls, and bright fabric featuring floral prints. They are wearing a green dress with dinosaurs, a mask to prevent coronavirus, green tights and a green sweater. They are smiling with their hands on their hips.

Teacher Sofia teaches a 4th/5th grade Spanish Immersion class and has found fans among colleagues and students alike. According to colleagues, Teacher Sofia “prioritizes uplifting the voices of those who have been historically oppressed. From discussing environmental racism and the fight for climate justice, to Indigenous activists and rights, to current anti-Asian hate crimes, Sofia is a strong advocate for empowering their students with the knowledge needed to take on the inequities in our world.”

According to their principal, Jeremy Hilinski, Teacher Sofia is “one in a million” and is also an active leader on Bret Harte’s culture and climate team. They are instrumental in creating dialog and leading trainings on race, diversity, and gender. Teaching partners note that Teacher Sofia is thoughtful in all aspects of their classroom: whether it’s helping students find a link to a document or advocating for using Google Classroom instead of Zoom, Teacher Sofia is always putting their students first. The impact of this is not lost on other staff members, who note that, “These actions could be easily avoided or passed off to the tutors, but teacher Sofia does not do that. They are dedicated to these students and do small actions that build up to a lot of meaning.”


Students have also noticed the thought and care that goes into the lessons and community that Teacher Sofia has created. As one student says, “Teacher Sofia is nice and lets us go to recess sometimes early and when we need help on our homework Teacher Sofia comes. When we do math and I don’t understand it, they explain it some more to me!” Another student notes, “Teacher Sofia helps us to learn new things and helps us with our work.” 


Understanding, compassionate, and inclusive: Teacher Sofia exemplifies what it means to be a dedicated educator, mentor, and colleague. Thank you, Teacher Sofia, for all that you do! We warmly thank our friends at KKR for making our Teacher of the Month Program possible this year with a KKR COVID Response Fund. Learn more at KKR.com/grants.

Read about more teachers of the month here.