Padan Panthers

Proud Padan Panthers

Padan Elementary is rich in pride in its school. This stems from the teachers who are committed to ensuring their students are successful academically and their families are supported. Padan engages in various community partnerships designed to equip families with services such as afterschool enrichment, free food, and STEM enrichment, as well as its highly popular City of Vacaville Police Department  K-9 visit with Lieutenant Aaron Dahl, who attended Padan as a child. 


This Padan community of teachers consists of former Padan Panthers who attended Padan when they were children, those who have taught at Padan for over 30 years, and a group of new teachers who have already begun to impact the community. 

Padan Grads Teaching the Next Generation 

Nyssa Rangel, Kindergarten Teacher

“Padan is the community I grew up in and feel the most at home. I want to be a teacher students can relate to and share things they have in common. We have a very positive staff culture at Padan. There is always someone to help you. The families are very appreciative and supportive of their children’s learning.”Padan grad now Padan Teachers

Elias Garcia, Sixth Grade Teacher 

“I grew up across the street from Padan. When I had the privilege of getting into education as my career, I knew I wanted to come to Padan. It means so much to me that I’m working right in the community I grew up in. I know the neighborhood. I understand the demographics of the community. It helps me to navigate different personalities and have a good understanding of their home lives.” 

Leading the Community

The Padan Panther community includes teachers who have been at Padan their entire careers (30+ years) and are leading the way for keeping Padan traditions, as well as numerous veteran Padan teachers who choose to stay at Padan to spearhead the positive changes that Padan wants to move forward into for this school year.

Denise Nelson, Academic Support Coordinator 

Padan teacher, Denise Nelson“I started at Padan as a long-term sub and transitioned into a full-time position. I’ve taught several grade levels as a classroom teacher for 34 years. We are like a family here at Padan, and everyone supports each other. Our Kindergarten teacher, Nyssa is even a former student of mine! We have each other's backs; we collaborate on lesson planning. Many supportive administrators allow us to do our jobs. I was supposed to retire last year, but I decided to stay an additional year to support our new teachers with their transition.” 


Sandy Duggan, Second Grade Teacher (5 years at Padan)

“There are lots of things that make Padan special. I have support from the administration to expand the garden to teach students sustainable food practices. This opportunity would be great for the students to get involved in improving the campus and providing what food we grow for the community.”

Sarah Longaker (Fifth Grade Teacher) and Navjot Kaur (Third Grade Teacher) - 10 years at Padan 


“We stayed ever since (after completing student teaching at Padan) because we love the people we work with and the community. It’s a very supportive learning environment for new teachers. We now have the chance to mentor the next generation of teachers.” 


Ryan Suggs, Third Grade Teacher - 4 years at Padan

“We teach the kids more than academics; we teach empathy, behaviors, how to have healthy relationships. I see my kids step up and be helpful to other kids who are new to the community or from another country. Our diversity also makes Padan special – so many kids can relate to each other, which is valuable to their experience. They have an indirect connection to each other.”

Padan veteran teachers

Katie Vaclavik, Third Grade Teacher - 4 years at Padan

“I commute from Sacramento – the staff morale keeps me here. We come together to empower our students. I feel comfortable, safe, and cared about. The kids have a drive for leadership, and the parents want to help and support us as teachers.”


Laura Ilcau, Third Grade Teacher

“I enjoy the sense of community between the teachers and families. Staying in touch with previous students and having their younger siblings in my class is a great experience. The teachers at Padan are more than just colleagues; they’re friends, supporters, and genuinely talented and passionate people.” 


Lynn Infante-Ware, Paraeducator - 8 years at Padan

“I have always loved education and working with kids. I homeschooled my children when they were younger and enjoyed that experience. As a paraeducator, it’s so wonderful seeing the kids learn something new for the first time.”

Padan paras

Kathleen Hadsell, Paraeducator – 15 years at Padan 

“I wanted to get into teaching and didn’t necessarily want to get a teaching credential. I started as a substitute teacher and loved working with the children. Through working as a substitute, I learned there are so many other options to work with children without a credential; then I became a paraeducator. I love seeing the kids grow and the trust they put in me.” 

Kimberly Evans, Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Teacher - 6 years at Padan 

“I choose Padan because I love the social work aspect of teaching. Caring for the kids is at the heart of my work. Kimberly EvansI get to be a part of a school that wraps services around every aspect of their lives. It’s important to teach them regulation, empowerment, kindness, and teamwork. It’s so empowering! That surrounds Padan’s vision. We have an administration that puts practices in place to support our population. If I can be part of something with that much purpose, then that is where I want to stay.” 

Sarah Wydler Second Grade Teacher – 1st year at Padan

“Leadership is the #1 thing about Padan that I love. The support staff from the office has been amazing. Teachers support each other, and everyone looks out for each other. It means everything to have that support from leadership because it impacts our everyday job. They give us a shoulder to lean on, help with a specific child, and the tools and resources we need to be successful at our job. They set the tone we are a family.” 

Leslie Bradford First Grade Teacher –3rd year at Padan

“One thing I love about Padan is the staff culture. You can always introduce yourself to a teacher, and they will be kind and willing to help you. Everyone is working toward a common goal to support the kids. The kids are resilient – no matter what they are going through, they show up to school every day. It’s hard to put into words, but there is something special about our kids. The kids and families impact us as teachers and motivate us to be the best teachers we can be. They put their best foot forward to learn and thrive at school.” 


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