The Katherine Delmar Burke School Distinguished Alumna Award is given each year to an alumna who embodies the values at the heart of the school’s mission to educate, encourage, and empower girls. The recipient exemplifies a life of learning, service to community, individuality, and the ability to make a difference in the world.

Our 2021 Distinguished Alumna: Shafia Zaloom '85

Shafia Zaloom ‘85 is a nationally recognized health educator, parent, consultant, and author whose work centers on human development, community building, ethics, and social justice. Her approach involves creating opportunities for students and teachers to discuss the complexities of teen culture and decision-making with straight-forward, open, and honest dialogue. Shafia has worked with thousands of children and their families in her role as teacher, coach, administrator, board member, and outdoor educator. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous parenting blogs. Shafia’s book, Sex, Teens and Everything in Between has been reviewed as “the ultimate relationship guide for teens of all orientations and identities.” It is one that “every teen, and every parent and educator - and every other adult who interacts with teens - should read.”

Shafia is currently the health teacher at the Urban School in San Francisco, and develops curricula and training for schools across the country. She was honored by the San Francisco Giants Foundation in 2018 for her work with Aim High, a program that expands opportunities for students from low-income neighborhoods and their teachers through tuition-free summer learning enrichment. Her work has been featured by many media outlets including, The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, KQED, and PBS.

Nominate a Distinguished Alumna

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2022 Distinguished Alumna. Nominations will close in mid-November 2021, and we look forward to announcing the recipient in 2022!

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  • Burke's Distinguished Alumna Award Recipients

    Shafia Zaloom '85

    Blair Rosenblatt Shane '85

    Ebony Frelix Beckwith '91

    Mary Shen O'Carroll '90

    Zoe Duskin '97

    Robin Hauser '78e

    Erica Howson Fortescue '89

    Lareina Yee '87

    Nancy Bibbero Cherney '70

    Pauline Moffit Watts '66

    Rachel Skiffer '88

    Vendela Vida '85

    Jean Afterman ’75

    Ann Blumlein Lazarus ’67

    Dr. Mary Maillard Piel ’73

    Mary Lowrey Gregory ’71

    Dr. Bella Shen Garnett ’89

    Nancy Hellman Bechtle ’55

    Heather Martinez Zona ’81

    Elisa "Bambi" Escamilla Schwartz ’56 
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


An independent K–8 school for girls
7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.751.0177 Fax: 415.666.0535
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