By George Yatchisin for Gevirtz Graduate School of Education

The UC Santa Barbara Foundation has appointed Tina McEnroe to its Board of Trustees.

For some 15 years the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education (GGSE) has been chronicling McEnroe’s growing list of accomplishments. She was the featured alumna, earning her MA from the GGSE Department of Education, in the school’s first annual magazine in 2006, when her years of award-winning teaching were highlighted.

McEnroe also was featured in UCSB’s alumni magazine for her visionary leadership to create the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse, the authentically refurbished oldest (1869) wooden one-room schoolhouse in Santa Barbara County that is located in Buellton. 

She has been lauded for her gift and leadership of the Tina Hansen & Paul V. McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic, which for a decade has provided state-of-the-art research and teaching in the field of literacy. Cal Poly, where she earned her teaching credential, presented McEnroe and her husband Paul with honorary doctorates in 2016.

McEnroe said the board appoinment came a surprise. She recalls the day while driving that UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang’s phone number popped up on her screen and she had no idea why he was calling.

“When he asked if I would be on the Board of Trustees, I was shocked,” she said. “That was never a goal of mine, and I’m very goal-oriented.” She asked Yang if she could consider it and confer with her husband.

She said her husband quickly replied: “Are you nuts? Call him right back!”

McEnroe was named a trustee because she’d been doing the work of a trustee for at least the past decade, helping create the Reading and Language Arts Clinic that has grown from one student to serving well over 500 students in the past five years, Yang said.

“It’s an exciting journey,” she said of the appointment. “I’m not quitting, I’m really revved up. I promised Henry I’d put the clinic on the national and international map.”

The goal of the Reading and Language Arts Clinic is to make the world a better place by helping people learn to read, McEnroe said.

“I’ve worn all the hats in the clinic, and my favorite has been as a teacher, working in the trenches with students and parents,” she said. Now as associate director her major goal is fundraising and establishing an endowment, “Raising the funds needed not just to survive but thrive.”

McEnroe notes the Gevirtz School’s support through the years, with the overall help of the Faculty Advisory Board, and stressing in particular how current director, Associate Professor Diana Arya, “has been invaluable” in keeping the clinic informed by the latest research.

One of the clinic’s recent projects has been exploring VR as a teaching tool. McEnroe said she has also been impressed by the skill and dedication of years of graduate students. She is equally proud that the clinic not only teaches first-through-eighth graders how to read, it also teaches generations of future teachers how to provide literacy skills for their pupils.

Since more than 90 percent of Santa Barbara elementary school students come from Spanish-speaking households that live below the poverty line, McEnroe is leading the fundraising charge so the clinic can offer scholarships for students of lower-income families.

“My dream is eventually to expand the program for high school students and even adults,” she said in a recent piece in the 2022 Santa Barbara Giving List. “With a firm foundation of support for our younger students, our clinic will undoubtedly attract additional support for older populations that have been equally impacted by the COVID-related pandemic.”