2020 Inductees


Kermit Bankson was a wrestling coach and PE teacher at Albany High School for many years, leading his teams to multiple championships. He served as a mentor to countless students and inspired them to reach their full potential. Mr. Bankson’s vision for athletic facilities at AHS helped create the design for the new gym.

Virginia L. Behm was a teacher and principal at Albany High. She wrote the founding criteria for the establishment of MacGregor High School, a small, necessary school to enhance the opportunities for young people in Albany. Ms. Behm established a Limited English Proficient Outreach Program at Golden Gate Fields, known as “Riding High.” She was an advocate for inclusive athletics and continues to volunteer at AHS wrestling events. Ms. Behm was the first woman president of the North Coast Section of the California Interscholastic Federation.

Craig Bryant is an instrumental music teacher. He has conducted award-winning music programs and AEF was happy to support a grant that allowed Mr. Bryant and students to perform at Lincoln Center. Mr. Bryant has been generous in providing music groups to perform at community events, including AEF fundraisers.

Judith Carey was a dedicated librarian at Marin School. She began the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) library at Albany Children’s Center from donations made in Mary Wallmann’s memory. Ms. Carey maintained quality libraries in Albany schools during difficult state funding cycles. AEF could always count on her to be a Barnes & Noble shopping-day volunteer.

Robin Davis was a longtime, beloved teacher and principal at Albany Middle School. Upon retirement she served as a volunteer tutor. Ms. Davis was famous for her love of pickle decor, which students often contributed to.

Ernie Douglas was a dedicated instrumental music teacher for AUSD. He was a founding member of Albany Music Boosters and a leader of the Albany Community Orchestra. Mr. Douglas inspired a love of music in both children and adults.

Ruth Ganong was a former Board of Education member and Mayor of Albany. She also served on the AEF Board of Directors. Ms. Ganong was a leader in school finance measures.  She shared her love of Albany history with elementary school students by giving classroom presentations.

Paul Giganti was an Albany kindergarten teacher, a noted California math educator, and a member of the AEF Board of Directors. He has served as the editor of the AEF Update for many years. Mr. Giganti is the author of several children’s math books, which he generously shares with Albany schools.

Ingrid Haney was a longtime yard duty and instructional aide at Marin School. She also provided school office support and was a PTA leader. Ms. Haney was the arbitrator of many playground disputes.

Ethel Hansen was a long-standing crossing guard at Cornell School, ensuring the safety of students in all kinds of weather.

Nancy Henderson was an adaptive PE teacher for AUSD. She implemented innovative programs for all grade levels, often with grants funded by AEF. Ms. Henderson created programs partnering students with special needs and middle- and high-school students in the Adaptive PE program with activities such as swimming, bike riding, and roller skating.

Dale Hudson was a longtime  Superintendent of Schools in Albany and supervised the building of the new Albany Middle and Albany High campuses. He was a strong supporter for the creation of AEF. Mr. Hudson steered the district through difficult times and ensured educational opportunities for all of Albany’s students.

Doug Kagawa was a dedicated teacher and guidance counselor at Albany High School, as well as a boys’ basketball coach, and girls’ volleyball coach. He required boys to wear ties to school on game days. Mr. Kagawa established the Victory with Honor Award for AHS students.

Joan Larson was a long-standing PTA volunteer and member of the original AEF Board of Directors. She established the donor and grant database and continued to support AEF at many events, especially the ice cream socials.

Little Star Pizza has been a financial supporter of AEF through their innovative and ongoing First Monday donation program. Since 2010, Little Star has donated more than $55,000 to AEF.

Allan Maris was a teacher at MacGregor High School and Albany High. He was especially known for bringing practical construction and engineering experiences to students. Mr. Maris was a former Board of Education member and Mayor of Albany. He established the Maris Family Opportunity Scholarship for AHS students.

Lisa Norman was an art teacher at Marin School and creator of the very popular Hearts on Solano art program. Ms. Norman also led students in creating the Marin School Snake Wall in the playground. She also helped students create Georgia O’Keefe inspired garden art and tile mosaics at several school sites, many of which were funded by AEF grants.

Jewel Okawachi was a longtime PTA volunteer, former Mayor of Albany, and tireless supporter of Albany High School athletics, especially the reinstatement of Track and Field. Ms. Okawachi was also a former member of the AEF Board of Directors. She gave classroom presentations on her experiences in the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II.

Sally Outis was the founder of AEF and our Executive Director, creating many of the policies and structures we still use. Ms. Outis was a former School Board member, dedicated PTA and classroom volunteer, and leader in school finance measures. Her spirit continues to guide AEF’s efforts today.

Sara Samonsky encouraged the creativity of students through her work as a theater and art instructor at AHS. She produced many plays and musicals with beautifully creative sets in Theater Ensemble. AEF was honored to provide Ms. Samonsky’s grant to create the murals in the Little Theater lobby, which are still enjoyed today.

SchoolCARE is a nonprofit organization committed to providing long-term funding to ensure that high standards of education in Albany are maintained. SchoolCARE equitably supports all of Albany’s TK-12 schools.

Mary Stocker is a vocal music teacher at Albany Middle School and Albany High. She conducts award-winning music programs and has received AEF grants for musical theater productions. Ms. Stocker shepherds students to music competitions throughout the state.

Peggy & John Thomsen: Peggy Thomsen was a PTA volunteer, former Albany mayor, and former member of the Board of Education. She sought ways to enhance the education of all students. John Thomsen was a longtime industrial arts teacher at Albany High School. The Thomsens were dedicated to AEF events.

Jim & Dot Walker: Jim Walker was a dedicated teacher, guidance counselor, and principal at Albany High School. Dot Walker was a long-standing elementary school teacher. Upon retirement the Walkers continued to support AEF. All kindergarten classrooms were provided with rocking chairs in honor of Ms. Walker. Funds donated in their name continue to fund the AHS counseling office.

Mary Wallmann was a longtime librarian at Albany High School. She was a former member of the Board of Education as well as the AEF Board of Directors. Ms. Wallmann inspired a love of books and reading in countless students. She was a dedicated accompanist for many AMS and AHS musicals and plays. After her retirement, Ms. Wallmann volunteered to teach music in third-grade classrooms.