A teacher in a math and science pre-college program guided by UCSB was named outstanding high school teacher of the year.

Dan Lucas, an educator at Channel Islands High School in Oxnard, was named outstanding high school teacher of the year by Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement, a nationally acclaimed statewide math and science program.

MESA honored Lucas for his exemplary work in assisting educationally disadvantaged students at Channel Islands to excel in math and science so they can go on to college. Lucas, head of the science department at Channel Islands, has served as a MESA adviser at the school for 17 years.

“Dan embodies his philosophy that education needs to be fun and vital,” said Bob Cota, MESA director at UCSB who oversees the program at Channel Islands and 21 other area schools. “Alumni who return after graduating from colleges, many in science and engineering, share their appreciation of Dan for teaching them how to learn and lead.”

Channel Islands High School ranks among low-performing California schools according to the state Academic Performance Index. Nearly 50 percent of the school’s students participate in the free-reduced price meal program and 95 percent of students participate in federal programs to bolster academic achievement for disadvantaged students.

MESA is an academic preparation program that serves more than 20,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged. Seventy percent of schools served by MESA are among the lowest-performing in the state; 54 percent of MESA high school graduates go on to college as math, engineering or science majors.

MESA, administered by the University of California, has been replicated in more than a dozen other states.