Council honors educator Francine Maffei

Francine Del Rosso Maffei has been honored by the city council for her tireless efforts to enhance the educational options for Sonoma youth over the past four decades.

A proclamation saluting Maffei’s work, from her days at St. Francis Solono to the founding of Presentation School, was read at the Dec. 1 meeting. Presenting the honor was Councilmember – and former student — August Sebastiani.

“You are one of Sonoma’s very special people,” he told Maffei, “a positive and uplifting influence to students and parents.”

Maffei attended St. Francis Catholic School as a child and returned to the school in the fall of 1967 as a young English teacher. She served as the school’s first lay Principal from 1979 until leaving in 1997 to start a new independent Catholic K-8 school in Sonoma, The Presentation School.

Maffei worked tirelessly to raise the funds for the school to build its own campus, a dream which came true in 2006 when Presentation opened its doors for 175 students in its new campus on lower Broadway. Maffei retired from Presentation in 2008.

“It’s truly remarkable to consider the generations of Sonomans who have been educated directly and through your influence at St. Francis and Presentation,” Sebastiani said.

Said Presentation School Founding Trustee Nancy Sebastiani, “Francine has been a great friend and a wonderful educator. In a time of confusion, her faith, strength and resolve gave many of us hope; and, with her guidance and determination, we have created an outstanding school community at Presentation.”

August Sebastaini credited Maffei as a major influence on his young life. “Although a 12- year-old Aug would like to consider that relationship as more adversarial than anything else, your influence is exactly what a young, good-natured troublemaker needed,” he said.

“There’s a thin line between Tom Sawyer and Bart Simpson,” he continued. “But it was Mrs. Maffei who largely helped me toe that line and stay on the straight and narrow. And in large part, that’s why I am who I am, and that’s why many of us are here tonight.”

Also announced at the Dec. 1 meeting was the Sebastiani family’s creation of a scholarship at The Presentation School in Maffei’s name.  

Said Nancy Sebastiani, “We would like to continue Francine’s legacy as best we can and so I want to extend an invitation to the community to join us in establishing the Francine Maffei Scholarship Fund which will afford deserving students the opportunity for a Presentation education.  Over the years, Francine has given hundreds of students extraordinary opportunities and now, future students will be able to similarly benefit from the realization of her dream.” 

For more information and to support the Francine Maffei Scholarship, please contact Beth Fox, director of development at Presentation School, at 935-0122, ext. 210 or bfox@presentationschool.com.


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