October 3, 2018

Sunny Zhang, Beacon Director at Aptos Beacon Community School

As a progressive educator with a background in social work and education research, Sunny strives to combine data-driven best practices with empathy work and design thinking from a lens of equity and cultural competency. These mindsets drive her to create sustainable foundational systems that support the needs of the youth and community at hand, and empower their voices. Sunny is passionate about innovation and pushing the status quo to progress the existing education system. Furthermore, she truly believes in human-centered design and collaboration with all stakeholders involved in a community to achieve the desired collective impact and outcomes. Sunny views her work with young people and families through a strengths-based lens where they all have potential that can be achieved through the right support systems, interventions, and resources. People who work with her feel seen and heard, and appreciated for their individual and group contributions. She derives satisfaction and joy from knowing that the work she does is making a tangible difference in the lives of the youth and families in her extended community. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA with Honors in Psychological and Brain Sciences, and received her Master’s Degree in Education and School Social Work License from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Here are some appreciations from her Director and the San Francisco Beacon Initiative:

“Sunny is an amazing leader who truly leads by example! She inspires all those around her on a daily basis with her strong work ethic, positive energy, thoughtfulness, and collaborative team spirit. Sunny is passionately committed to providing high quality programming that is responsive and reflective of our school community. One thing that really stands out about Sunny is her ability to carry a smile and positive attitude no matter what challenges are thrown her way. We are so fortunate to have Sunny leading our beacon at Aptos!” – Joni Chu, Director of Operations at Community Youth Center

“Sunny has a wealth of knowledge and experience that has paved a wonderful road to her becoming a Beacon Director. She is creative, hardworking, and a strong teamplayer. I have no doubt she will accomplish a lot this school year!” – Erica Hernandez, Program Manager of SFBI

Thank for all your hard work, Sunny!