The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has selected Julie Kluss, a life sciences teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, as its outstanding secondary teacher of the year.
Since 1986, the club has honored three outstanding teachers from South Coast schools each year. It awards a secondary, elementary and special-education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.
Kluss was recognized at the club’s luncheon meeting last Friday. Prior winners of the Teacher Recognition Award this year were Kristin Corpuz, a special-education teacher at Harding University Partnership School, and Alison Throop, a first-grade teacher at Roosevelt School.
“This kind of continuing support for local educators is priceless,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the recognition with the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “These Rotary awards make a direct, immediate impact for children by helping outstanding teachers enhance their classroom experience.”
“The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara is committed to supporting the Santa Barbara County Education Office, and honoring excellent local teachers like Julie Kluss,” said Roland Christopher, chairman of the Teacher Recognition Committee of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “Rotary of Santa Barbara and Rotary International members know that educators like Julie Kluss are shaping our local youth into successful citizens who will be our future community leaders. Her passion for education is an inspiration to all in our great community.”
“Julie is an outstanding educator,” said Lito Garcia, principal of Santa Barbara Junior High School. “She is always seeking opportunities to take her craft to the next level. In addition, Julie is always collaborating with outside organizations to provide a richer experience for all her students. Julie cares deeply about her students and makes a point of contacting each family at the beginning of school to introduce herself and inform the parents/guardians that she is always available to support their son or daughter.
“Julie has volunteered to be on several school committees, which shows her commitment to ensure that all students, not just her students, at SBJHS will have an outstanding experience academically, socially and emotionally. I feel very honored to work with Julie and I feel grateful that she is providing an incredible educational experience for the students at SBJHS.”
“My educational belief is that today's students are the architects of the future,” Kluss said. “Our job as teachers is to facilitate their vision by giving them the concepts and skills for success in the 21st century. My instructional approach is to give students opportunities to explore current scientific research, methods, and researchers through community and project-based, experiential learning. I believe in creating differentiated learning challenges that inspire and support students at every level. Working with my colleagues and students is an honor I receive every day.”
Kluss teaches seventh-grade life science classes and has been a physical science teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High School for the past 13 years. Prior to her work there, she worked as the outreach educator and a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the Sea Center. She is nearly done earning her Gifted and Talented Education credential through the UCSB extension program.
She lives in Goleta with her husband, Scott, and their two children.
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. Recipients of the club’s Teacher Recognition Awards are made with the assistance of the Teacher Programs and Support Department of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
— Dave Bemis is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.