Eight exemplary educators in Santa Barbara County will be honored Nov. 5 at the fourth annual “A Salute to Teachers” event hosted by Cox Communications and the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO). Three teachers have been chosen as Distinguished New Educators, while three others have been recognized as Distinguished Mentors. Additionally, Santa Barbara County’s nine 2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools will be recognized. Capping the evening will be a performance by the students of the 2017 Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year, Brett Larsen, and a special recognition of the 2017 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year, Michelle Minetti-Smith.

The gala event, emceed by Andrew Firestone, will be held once again at the historic Lobero Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara. A Salute to Teachers partners SBCEO with Cox and a variety of sponsors, including Fielding Graduate University, Montecito Bank & Trust, Anthem-Blue Cross, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, and others. Cox has sponsored a similar celebration for 26 years in San Diego, and is honored to continue this great tradition of teacher recognition for Santa Barbara educators.

The Distinguished New Educators, nominated by their peers and chosen by a committee through the SBCEO, are:

  • Megan Heffernan — Peabody Charter School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Amy Porter — Carpinteria Family School, Carpinteria Unified School District
  • Manjot Singh — La Colina JHS, Santa Barbara Unified School District

The Distinguished Mentors, selected in the same fashion, are:

  • Terri Cox — Cuyama Valley HS, Cuyama Unified School District
  • Kevin Baldizon — Kermit McKenzie JHS, Guadalupe Union School District
  • Ashley Cornelius — Santa Barbara HS, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Also being recognized at the event are the nine elementary schools from throughout the county that recently earned California Gold Ribbon School Awards. These awards recognize elementary schools that have made great gains in implementing State Board policies and their Local Control Accountability Plan. Ballard Elementary School, Cold Spring School, Santa Ynez Elementary School, Hope School, Monte Vista School, Leonora Fillmore School, Manzanita Charter, Franklin School, and Alvin Avenue School were all named Gold Ribbon Schools in the spring of 2016.

“We welcome the opportunity to celebrate outstanding teachers and teaching excellence in Santa Barbara County, ” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone. “A Salute to Teachers gives us a chance to honor high quality education throughout our county — a celebration made possible by the generous support of business partners from throughout the community.”

To register for the event, please visit sbceo.org/s/2016salute. For more information about the awards or the event, contact Steven Keithley, SBCEO Director of Teacher Programs and Support, at 964-4710, ext. 5281.

“A Salute to Teachers 2016” will be broadcast in its entirety on Cox Channel 8 later in the year. At that time it will also be available for viewing online at Cox8TV.com.