Santa Maria, Solvang teachers chosen for honors by the Santa Barbara County Office of Education | Education

Two northern Santa Barbara County teachers are among six chosen to be honored Nov. 5 during “A Salute to Teachers,” where the county’s teacher of the year and the performing arts teacher from the year will also be recognized.

Crystal Guzman, a teacher at El Camino High School in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, is one of three teachers named a New Distinguished Educator by the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.

Alyssa Spanier, who teaches at Solvang School in the Solvang School District, is one of three chosen as a Distinguished Mentor, the county education office said.

Each year, school administrators, education colleagues and others are invited to nominate teacher mentors who demonstrate exceptional teaching and leadership practices and new teachers who demonstrate early career success and exceptional skills, said a spokesperson for the Office of Education.

The final winners are chosen by a selection committee made up of expert educators, administrators, business and community partners, and a former county teacher of the year.

“This year, we celebrate six distinguished mentors and new educators who bring wisdom and energy to their school communities and talents and expertise to our students,” said Susan Salcido, county superintendent of schools.

She said the awards amplify the importance of investing in the next generation of teachers.

Guzman teaches English language arts and leadership at El Camino Junior High, where she “rekindled the spirit of the school” and won the Nicholson Hero Award for her efforts to improve the school, the doorman said. -speaker of the Office of Education.

“[Crystal] never fails to ask how she can improve,” an unidentified colleague said. “She asks questions about the many skills that teachers need to master: content, pedagogy and school climate. She handles new concepts with beauty and curiosity.

Spanier is described as “a dynamic teacher and a natural leader” on the Solvang School campus, where she teaches English language arts and mentors new teachers.

“Alyssa is always checking on me, reminding me of deadlines and giving me very detailed feedback on my homework,” said one of the new teachers.

During the pandemic, Spanier became a Google Certified Teacher and trained staff to use Google Classroom to deliver distance education, the Office of Education spokesperson said.

Her leadership on the language arts team has resulted in increased rigor and success in the literacy program, the spokeswoman said, and she volunteers to lead student government and graduation rehearsal. degrees each year.

Two other North County teachers will also be recognized at the November event – Joanna Hendrix, who was named Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year for 2023, and Jennifer Peterson, named Santa Barbara County’s Performing Arts Teacher. the year 2023 at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Hendrix is ​​employed by the County Office of Education and teaches deaf and hard of hearing preschool, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten students in the Santa Maria and Orcutt area.

His classroom on the campus of Ralph Dunlap Elementary School in the Orcutt Union School District is one of 17 special education preschool classrooms operated by the Office of Education throughout the county.

Peterson, who has a 25-year career teaching the performing arts, is a choir and drama director at Cabrillo High School in the Lompoc Unified School District, where for the past 15 years she has staged 34 plays and musicals with his students.

“I mean complete Broadway shows, with the exact same books and music you’d see in New York or on the stage of any professional theater company, done on a shoestring budget in eight weeks of rehearsal” , said Garson Olivieri, a teacher at Cabrillo. who nominated her for the award.

Elsy Mora of La Colina Junior High School and Kendall Stevens of La Cumbre Junior High School, both of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, are other distinguished new educators who will be honored at the event.

Other distinguished mentors to be honored are Cara Leach of Foothill Elementary School in the Goleta Union School District and Christina Roessler of Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara.