Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 8:36 am | Overcast 66º


Rotary Honors La Colina Theater Teacher as Class Act

Shannon Saleh to receive $1,000 to use for her classroom

La Colina Principal David Ortiz, left; award-winner Shannon Saleh; and Mike Bieza of Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.
La Colina Principal David Ortiz, left; award-winner Shannon Saleh; and Mike Bieza of Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.

Shannon Saleh, La Colina Junior High performing arts teacher, has been recognized by the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara for her outstanding work and significant contributions to public education, the Santa Barbara County Education Office has announced.

This is the second of four such awards the Rotarians will present to area educators this academic year.

Since 1986, Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has honored exemplary teachers from South Coast schools each year. It awards a high school, junior high, elementary, and special education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.

Saleh teaches theater and vocal music, including four theater classes and three show choirs. For the past 21 years, she has worked at La Colina Junior High in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

“I believe in helping students find a voice that is distinctly their own, and in providing myriad opportunities for individual growth,” Saleh said.

“I think that exposing students to excellence, particularly in my field of musical theater performance, allows them to create a vision for themselves as future adults," she said.

"I hope to foster an environment in my room that breeds confidence and creativity in a space that feels like a comfortable community,” she said.

“We are grateful to Rotary Club of Santa Barbara for their vision and commitment to education in our community,” said Susan Salcido, county superintendent of schools, whose office coordinates the recognition with Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.

“Santa Barbara County is honored to count teachers like Shannon Saleh among our community treasures,” she said.

“Not only do these awards recognize the contributions of outstanding teachers, but they also provide resources that enable those teachers to make meaningful differences for their students,” Salcido said.

Mike Bieza, chairman of the Rotary Club's teacher recognition committee, said, “The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara is committed to supporting the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

"It gives us great pleasure to recognize the efforts of outstanding teachers like Shannon Saleh.”

“Rotary of Santa Barbara and Rotary International members know that educators like Shannon have a tremendous impact on their students, who one day will be the leaders of our community,” he said.

La Colina Principal David Ortiz said, “Shannon has contributed to our culture and instructional program as much as any staff member who has worked at La Colina.

“Her level of relationship, character, as well as the technical core of knowledge and skills are truly exemplary,” he said.

Saleh earned her undergraduate degree in English from Northern Arizona University, along with an additional certification in music K-12. She has a dual master’s degree in administration and curriculum and instruction.

Before coming to La Colina, Saleh taught English and choir, and coached cheerleading at Indio High School in Indio.

Last year, Saleh's accomplishments were honored by La Colina PTSA and at Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Night of Stars.

Over the years, Saleh's student groups have received gold and superior ratings at numerous festivals, and they are multiple-year champions at the Musical Theater Competition of America.

“I absolutely love students and the emerging people they are when they are in junior high school,” Saleh said. “I think this window allows me the chance to really affect students in igniting a passion for the arts.

"I believe the arts are essential to making students into whole people who can work with others intimately, share of themselves, and contribute to the world around them.”

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.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets for lunch, noon-1:30 p.m. Fridays, at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara.

— David J. Lawrence for Santa Barbara County Education Office.


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