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Santa Barbara Teachers Meet with Jill and Joe Biden, Tour Air Force Two

Vice president and wife, in town for a private Democratic National Committee fundraiser, express their appreciation for the work of local educators

Vice President Joe Biden, front center, and his wife, Jill, front left, meet with teachers and administrators from the Santa Barbara Unified School District after touching down Friday at the Santa Barbara Airport.
Vice President Joe Biden, front center, and his wife, Jill, front left, meet with teachers and administrators from the Santa Barbara Unified School District after touching down Friday at the Santa Barbara Airport.  (Santa Barbara Unified School District photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli | updated logo |

The Santa Barbara Airport was packed with black cars and dark-suited Secret Service agents Friday afternoon for the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.

Security was intense, but a group of Santa Barbara Unified School District teachers got to meet the Bidens and take a quick tour of Air Force Two.

Jill Biden’s office got in touch with the school district Wednesday and the visit — the first of its kind — was put together quickly, district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.

Superintendent Dave Cash said he chose a diverse group of teachers to attend, from special projects and elementary, secondary and alternative schools.

“It was a really affirming, short chat,” said Dovas Zaunius, a teacher on special assignment helping teachers make the transition to the Common Core State Standards.

He said Jill Biden, a community college teacher who has a doctorate in education, wanted the local educators to know they were appreciated and all their hard work was noticed.

In their brief time together, Zaunius asked about her thoughts on remedial work.

“She works on ways to help kids get to where they need to be, and she talked about how important reading is and writing is for all students who come into a class,” he said. “We agreed.”

They were all very excited to tour Air Force Two as a bonus.

Air Force Two
A crowd of spectators gathered to watch Air Force Two land Friday at the Santa Barbara Airport. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

“She was so casual about it,” teacher Craig Schneider said. “She said, ‘Do you all want to walk through the plane?’”

The aircraft had a private cabin for the Bidens and a lot of office space for the staff and media that travel with them, teachers said.

“What struck me was, wow, that’s a really important office right there,” Zaunius said of Biden’s private office on board.

None of the teachers and administrators knew what to expect when they showed up, but said the visit — and gift bags — were very thoughtful.

Biden is in Santa Barbara for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private home in Montecito and will be leaving Saturday afternoon.

The Bidens were escorted out of the Santa Barbara Airport by a large motorcade of Secret Service agents, California Highway Patrol officers and personnel from other law enforcement agencies.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District delegation included Cash, Keyani and eight teachers, per the Secret Service’s request to keep the group at 10 members.

The teachers included in the visit were Kelly Choi, math teacher at Dos Pueblos High School’s The Academy program; Kathy Dubock, a READ 180 reading intervention teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High School; Daisy Estrada, a teacher at McKinley School; Jose Marquez, a social studies and Advancement Via Individual Determination teacher at La Colina Junior High School; Shannon Sadecki, a founding teacher at La Cuesta Continuation High School’s Quetzal program; Schneider, a math teacher on special assignment to help the district with the Common Core standards; and Zaunius, an English teacher on special assignment to help with the Common Core transition.

“This is so exciting,” Keyani said. “This is one of those things you never forget.”\

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Vice President Joe Biden Arriving at Santa Barbara Airport from Giana Magnoli on Vimeo.

DSC 0203 from Giana Magnoli on Vimeo.

Air Force Two Arrives In Santa Barbara from Giana Magnoli on Vimeo.

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