Monday, June 25 , 2018, 1:47 pm | Mostly Cloudy 68º


Santa Ynez Valley’s Diane Siegal Named County Teacher of the Year

The high school English teacher is recognized for her enthusiasm, creativity and accomplishments

Diane Siegal, a ninth- and 11th-grade English teacher for nine years at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, has been named 2009-10 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year.

County Schools Superintendent Bill Cirone made the announcement at the annual Teachers Network Education Celebration on Wednesday night at the Santa Ynez Marriott in Buellton.

Siegal, one of a number of countywide nominees for the honor, was selected by a committee including representatives of teachers, administrators, PTA members and the county school board. Distinguished Educators also were named and will be announced at the June board meeting.

Cirone noted Siegal’s professionalism, enthusiasm, creativity and accomplishments in the classroom and in the community.

Siegal earned her bachelor of arts degree in English, and her teaching credential and her master of arts degree from UCSB. She has been teaching English at Santa Ynez High since 2001.

She has served as faculty adviser for Santa Ynez High’s Mock Trial team, took part in an intensive language academy in Costa Rica, studied abroad at the University of Valencia in Spain and was a competitive cyclist in Osaka, Japan.

She has won recognition as educator of the month from Montecito Bank & Trust, and was awarded C.E.O. New Chapter award and Outstanding Adult Advisor awards from People to People International. She is a community liaison for the Achievement/Risk/Challenge (ARC) leadership and literacy program at Santa Ynez High, has raised money for the Jesse Rohde Foundation Community Medical Clinic in Ghana and has her class do projects to support Heifer International.

Siegal also was part of the Critical Friends Professional Development Collaborative Group under the direction of a Disney Distinguished National Teacher of the Year. She also is developing a schoolwide service model in conjunction with the school’s leadership team.

“We could not ask for a more qualified representative of our school or a candidate more worthy of this honor,” Principal Suzanne Nicastro wrote. “Diane works with all levels of English students from Honors and College Prep to English Language Learners. Diane’s students are quick to see her as someone who truly cares. They respect the fact that she will not allow them to give her class anything less than their best. ... Diane is a master teacher who models excellence in all areas of instruction. ... Perhaps the best word I can use to describe Diane Siegal is ‘professional.’ She is articulate, organized and holds a passionate commitment for learning.”

Siegal’s nomination will be reviewed for consideration as California Teacher of the Year in the fall. The California winner will proceed into consideration for 2010 National Teacher of the Year.

— Wendy Shelton represents the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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