Staff Report

Eight exemplary educators in Santa Barbara County, including two Santa Ynez Valley teachers, will be honored at the seventh annual Salute to Teachers gala sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO), Cox Communications, and other organizations.

The event will be held Nov. 2 at the Music Academy of the West.

Three teachers have been chosen as Distinguished New Educators, and three  others have been recognized as Distinguished Mentors. Also being honored will be Michele Frantz, the 2020 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year, and Bree Jansen, 2020 Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year.

Frantz is a first-grade teacher at Joe Nightingale School in the Orcutt Union School District, and Jansen is an English and performing/visual arts teacher at Lompoc High School in the Lompoc Unified School District.

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

  • Anthony Bruemmer, Santa Ynez School, College School District
  • Melanie Thatcher, Miguelito School, Lompoc Unified School District
  • Michael Wallace, El Camino Junior High School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District

The Distinguished Mentors, also peer-nominated and chosen by committee, are:

  • Amy Willis, Los Olivos School, Los Olivos School District
  • Marith Parton, Carpinteria Middle School, Carpinteria Unified School District
  • Marilyn Tilley, Battles School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District

The six award-winning educators are participants in the Teacher Induction Program at SBCEO. The program pairs new teachers with experienced mentors to accelerate teacher effectiveness and provide coaching and support for their first two years of teaching.

“A Salute to Teachers is a wonderful way to honor our outstanding local educators who inspire young minds each day and who model professional excellence,” said County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido. “The event recognizes and highlights the value Santa Barbara County places upon high-quality education.”

SBCEO’s partners in the event include Cox Communications, Fielding Graduate University, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, the Santa Barbara Bowl, and others.

For more information about the awards or the event, visit contact Steven Keithley, SBCEO director of teacher programs and support, at 805-964-4710, ext. 5281.

For more about the SBCEO Teacher Induction Program, visit induction.sbceo.orgor contact program director John Merritt at 805-964-4710, ext. 5426.