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Carpinteria High School Science Educator Named Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year

Mandi de Witte of Carpinteria High School is chosen for her leadership, creativity and support for students

Mandi de Witte named Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido announced Thursday that Mandi de Witte is the 2019 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

In a county serving more than 69,000 students in 20 districts, Mandi de Witte was chosen as Teacher of the Year for her work at Carpinteria High School. 

Her leadership, enthusiasm and support for students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive in science has earned the two-year Carpinteria Unified School District teacher the top educator in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido made the announcement Thursday. 

“We are impressed with your insights, passion, creativity, focus and energy,” Salcido said of de Witte, who teaches biology and environmental science and is the school's science department chair.

“One of the biggest parts of my job is making student relationship — to forge relationships with them, get to know them and know what makes them tick so I can inspire them,” De Witte said.

“All students can learn. All students can learn science if you can inspire them, give them the support and if you have the proper tools.”

The Teacher of the Year program honors and recognizes exceptional teachers on a district, state and national level, and the county winner is put into the running for consideration as California's 2019 Teacher of the year. The state winner moves forward in the competition for the 2019 national teacher of the year.

De Witte was selected by a comprehensive review process conducted by a five-person committee consisting of administrators, business leaders and Jennifer Cline, last year’s teacher of the year.

Before de Witte came to Carpinteria High, she spent six years at the Ventura Unified School District, teaching biology at Buena High School in Ventura and working as the K-5 science specialist at Will Rogers Elementary.

De Witte completed the Teacher Education Graduate Program at UC Santa Barbara, where she received her teaching credential and master’s in education. 

She is also a lead teacher in the South Coast Science Project, a UCSB-based center providing professional development for teachers in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties through a variety of programs that assist teachers in the delivery of the content of the science standards to students.

De Witte will be recognized at the Education Celebration on May 24 in Buellton and the county’s Salute to Teachers event on Nov. 3 in Santa Barbara.

Carpinteria High School Gerardo Cornejo Principal said she is “able to bring the science curriculum alive and encourages students to want to learn more.”

“Her dedication and commitment to the education of our students is evident every day in the engaging and challenging lessons she creates for our students,” he continued.

“Carpinteria High School is fortunate to have her as a teacher, mentor and role model.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

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