Sonoma County Office of Education

Employee Spotlight: Jeff Valfer

09/25/2019 - Jeff Valfer

Jeff Valfer

Years at SCOE:
Iíve been with SCOE for four years now. Previously I taught in Connecticut and Oakland.

Job Title:
Teacher at Amarosa Academy. I teach social sciences and lead the Birding Club.

How do you describe your job to people outside SCOE?
I simply explain that itís an alternative schooling path for kids that for whatever reason, the traditional education model isnít a fit.

Where did you grow up?
New England.

Who was your favorite childhood teacher and why? Rex Smith. He was a math teacher and a tennis coach. I didnít play tennis and I didnít like math, but this guy just knew how to connect with kids. He talked to me like a person, gave me a lot of respect from day one and in turn, I, like most of the school, gave it to him. I still remember that. He was very supportive and pushed me to care about school. He taught me how to achieve goals by not just focusing on the end goal but breaking it down into steps. He helped me navigate the waters of life in a way and was a nice voice of reason in my early teenage years.

What is your favorite thing about working for SCOE?
The team that I work with at Amarosa, 100 percent. These folks have welcomed me into their community and really empowered me to be the teacher I want to be. I really feel like Iíve hit the jackpot with the team I work with.

Outside of work, what is your favorite hobby or way to unwind?
My wife and I are really into birding. My young kids can do it with us. A fun time is going out to the beach and looking at shorebirds with my kids and playing in the sand.

What is your favorite place in Sonoma County?
We love Bodega. Our backyard is really fun too. We have a good-sized creek in our backyard. We can see deer, and mink, and sometimes river otters. My kids love it!

What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I get super nervous having to talk in front of large groups of people.