Santa Barbara County Office of Education

The Santa Barbara County Department of Education (SBCEO) will recognize three Distinguished Mentors and three Distinguished New Educators at the 9th Annual A Salute to Teachers Gala hosted by SBCEO and co-sponsor Cox Communications in November. announced the selection of Support from other generous sponsors.

Each year, school administrators, peers, and others are invited to nominate mentor teachers who demonstrate good teaching practice and leadership, and new teachers who demonstrate early career success and outstanding skills. .

The final winners will be chosen by a selection panel made up of professional educators, administrators, business and community partners, and previous county best teachers.

“At SBCEO, we are committed to developing, supporting and rewarding educators throughout their careers,” said County Superintendent of Education Dr. Susan Salcido. “This year we celebrate six notable mentors and new educators who bring wisdom and energy to our school community and bring talent and expertise to our students. This recognition highlights the importance of investing in the next generation of teachers. To make that happen, we need incredible new educators and mentor teachers. We congratulate and thank them for their achievements and dedication.”

Notable mentors include:

Carla Leach – Foothill Elementary School, Goleta Union School District

Cara Leach is a 4th grade teacher at Foothill Elementary and is highly regarded by the school community and the school district at large. Goleta Her colleagues at her Union School District are inspired by her willingness to share and work together for the betterment of her students. She is seen as a resource by her fellow teachers, and has been known to kindly share materials with anyone she asks, even handing her own supplies to her home.

As a mentor, Cara is very responsive and purposeful in providing feedback. her colleague said: She laughs and says, “After over 25 years of teaching, I still feel that way! I just do what I can in the moment. This feedback continues to be deep and meaningful to me.”

Cara takes the time to help all her colleagues, from beginner teachers to para-educators, student teachers, and grade-level teammates. She is a seasoned teacher who adopts new curricula, tools and strategies to improve the learning environment for her students.

Christina Roessler – Peabody Charter School, Santa Barbara

Christina (Tina) Roessler has been described as a “skilled teacher”. She has taught her first grade on her charter at Peabody and has developed a precise set of skills throughout her professional teaching career. Her sophisticated strategies for working with students of diverse backgrounds and experiences have resulted in a solid record of student achievement, both academically and socially and emotionally well-being.

As one colleague put it: As a bilingual with experience living and studying outside the United States, she brings a lot of value to our team and school.

Tina supports and accelerates the professional growth of those who are lucky enough to work with her. Her colleagues say she gives great confidence to those she mentors and shows them how to turn vulnerabilities into strengths. Because of her beliefs, Tina has become a role model for her profession.

Alyssa Spanier – Solvang School, Solvang School District

Alyssa Spanier is an active teacher and natural leader at the Solvang School campus, where she teaches English Language Arts. Under her guidance, new teachers will directly benefit from Alyssa’s commitment to excellence and her drive to succeed.

Alyssa has played a key role in the school’s success. In the face of her pandemic, she became her Google-certified teacher and trained staff on how to use her Google Classroom as a means of delivering distance learning. Alyssa also volunteers to run the Student Union and Graduation Rehearsals each year. Her leadership in the language arts team has resulted in the rigor and success of her literacy curriculum.

A colleague of hers says, “Alyssa keeps checking on me, reminding me of deadlines, and giving me very detailed feedback on my assignments.” She is a constant advocate for students and their well-being and is an excellent example of how she interacts, guides and supports students.

Notable incoming educators include:

Crystal Guzman – El Camino Middle School, Santa Maria Bonita School District

Crystal Guzman demonstrates skill and positivity in her role of teaching English Language Arts and Leadership at El Camino Junior High. She rekindled her school spirit on campus and won the Nicholson Hero Award for her tireless determination to improve Elle Her Camino. Crystal has been described as a “master” of teaching writing, and with the grace of her veteran teachers, she brings her clever tricks and tools into the classroom.

A colleague at Crystal said:[Crystal] Always ask how she can improve. She asks about many of the skills teachers must master: content, teaching methods, school climate, etc. She treats new concepts with beauty and curiosity. ”

In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Crystal is highly regarded by all staff, students and families in the El Camino community.

Elsy Mora – La Colina Middle School, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Elsy Mora is a math teacher at La Colina Middle School, and in her first year of teaching, she completely immersed herself in the school. She develops meaningful connections with students and is a hardworking and dedicated colleague. She is elected to represent the math department at her monthly site meetings and makes decisions on behalf of the math team. Elsy also mentors students after school, providing additional academic support, as well as helping prospective students in schools who want to build their skills, academic identity, and connection with caring adults. Some offer a warm and welcoming environment.

Elsy’s colleagues call her “Unicorn”. Because she is a fully qualified bilingual Latin math teacher and she also has a degree in Chicano studies. She adds a unique voice to the site’s leadership team and is committed to providing learning opportunities for all students, especially those who are struggling or underrepresented in high-level math classes. I’m in. She really thinks about students with special needs and she focuses on them in the rest of the site.

She connects with students on both subject matter and shared cultural experiences. A colleague of hers shared her one instance when Elsy discussed coming-of-age ceremonies with a group of girls. Elsie told them details about her own “Karin”, including food, dancing, dress, and her feelings about the event. A colleague of hers recalled:

Kendall Stephens – La Cumbre Middle School, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Kendall Stevens is a second grader at La Cumbre Middle School, teaching 8th grade social studies. She quickly established herself as an innovative, enthusiastic and motivated educator. In addition to the subjects she teaches, Kendall has stepped up to advise leadership clubs and organized more opportunities for student connection on campus, including costume her content, games and dances. .

Kendall solicits student feedback through Google Forms, exit tickets, and individual conversations, and uses that feedback to improve every day. “She is constantly improving her lessons and plans to meet the needs of her students. Kendall also helps students understand the importance of personal reflection in their own growth and educational journey. ,” said her colleague.

Kendall has developed a warm, positive and collegial relationship with La Cumbre staff. She takes her classroom to the next level by incorporating different discourse strategies into her students to encourage them to think deeply and encourage her colleagues to do the same. She is motivated to grow as a teacher and works hard to make the campus a place that supports student growth.

These distinguished educators participate in a two-year teacher initiation program that combines new teachers with experienced mentors to improve practice, learn professional responsibilities, and focus on student learning. “Teacher referral programs elevate the teaching profession and have a positive impact on teacher retention. Supportive relationships and commitment to improving teaching practices are transforming our school communities.

Also honored at A Salute to Teachers in November are Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year, Joanna Hendricks, and Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Peterson.

The SBCEO is grateful to its partners who make teacher salute events possible, including Cox Communications and sponsors such as Fielding Graduate School, Melfred Borzall, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, and Santa Barbara Bowl.

For more information about an award or event, click here or contact Steve Keithley, Director of Programs and Support for Teachers at (805) 964-4710, ext. For more information on the Teacher Induction Program, click here or call (805) 964-4710, ext. 5426.





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