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Santa Barbara School Board Appoints Monroe Principal, Special-Education Director

Celesta Darga of GVJHS selected to lead Monroe Elementary, and Deborah Lazzari will oversee special ed beginning July 1

The Santa Barbara school board on Tuesday night ratified the appointment of a new principal and a new director of special education.

Celesta Darga will serve as the new principal of Monroe Elementary School, 431 Flora Vista Drive in Santa Barbara.

Darga most recently has worked as an assistant principal at Goleta Valley Junior High School. She has been a teacher in the district for 18 years. She taught at Cleveland, Harding and Washington elementary schools.

As an exceptional educator, Darga was named 2005-06 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year. In 2009, she was one of nine teachers selected by the Santa Barbara County Education Office and Partners in Education for the new Education Technology Ambassador program, designed to recognize innovative educators who are leaders in using technology as a teaching and learning tool in their classrooms.

Darga is a teacher’s teacher. She was a reading trainer in California for teachers and administrators. She also taught a curriculum and instruction course in the teacher education program at UCSB. She led the elementary district report card revision committee and has been a leader in the English Language Advisory Committee materials selection process.

At Goleta Valley Junior High, Darga supervised the special education and English learner departments. She is also well versed in the GATE and Honors programs.

Deborah Lazzari will serve as the district’s director of special education, beginning July 1.

For the past five years, Lazzari has served as a director in the Stanislaus County Office of Education, where she was responsible for autism and related programs. Before her work at the county office, she was a program specialist in Turlock.

Lazzari has worked as a special education teacher (resource specialist), program specialist, coordinator, and director of autism programs. She is a behavior analyst and has extensive experience working with special education staff, students and families.

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara School District.

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