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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 6:46 am | Fair 43º


Salute to Teachers: Monte Vista School Teacher Janis Spracher Inspires Parents As Well As Students

Thanks to a veteran role model, mom serving as classroom aide embarks on a teaching career of her own

[Noozhawk’s note: Seventh in a series on the teachers who will be honored Nov. 14 at A Salute to Teachers 2015, presented by Cox and the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Click here for a complete series index.]

Mentoring new teachers at Monte Vista Elementary School in Santa Barbara inspires veteran teacher Janis Spracher, who has worked in education for three decades. But she says that enthusiasm is contagious when working with new teachers.

                             |  Salute to Teachers 2015 |  Complete Series Index  |

“New teachers have so much positive energy and lots of fresh ideas,” she said.

Spracher is one of three teachers — Francisco Diaz Real of Lompoc High School and Clanci Chiu of the Santa Barbara County Education Office being the other — chosen for the award of distinguished mentors from the county Education Office.

Helping new teachers is energizing for Monte Vista School teacher and mentor Janis Spracher. “They are so grateful,” she says. “I like knowing I can make things a little easier for them.” (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)
Helping new teachers is energizing for Monte Vista School teacher and mentor Janis Spracher. “They are so grateful,” she says. “I like knowing I can make things a little easier for them.” (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

The award is designed to highlight and recognize exceptional instruction, leadership and mentorship, and each mentor is nominated by an administrator, mentee or colleague.

Spracher and the other awardees will be recognized at the Salute to Teachers gala Nov. 14 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. The three Distinguished Mentors, three Distinguished New Educators and the 2016 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year will also be recognized at the event.

Presented by Cox and the county Education Office, A Salute to Teachers 2015 is co-sponsored by Anthem Blue CrossFielding Graduate UniversityMontecito Bank & TrustNoozhawk and Village Properties

For Spracher, mentoring teachers as they start their career is rewarding because they are so appreciative.

“The first couple of years in a classroom can be rather overwhelming, so whether I help them with ideas for classroom management, teaching strategies or just how to use the copy machine, they are so grateful,” she said.

“I like knowing I can make things a little easier for them.”

Spracher taught fourth through sixth grades for 19 years, as well as preschool and kindergarten for 10.

In addition to Monte Vista and Hope schools in the Hope Elementary School District, Spracher has also taught at Monroe, La Cumbre Junior High and Santa Barbara High schools.

She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Irvine; a multiple-subject teaching credential from California State University, Northridge; and a masters in education leadership from Brandman University.

Spracher said she was inspired to enter the field of education because her mother and three sisters all had teaching careers.

“I was inspired by them and other teachers who made me want to change students’ lives in a positive way,” she said.

Spracher was nominated for the award by a Monte Vista School parent who also worked as an aide in her classroom. With Spracher’s encouragement, the woman has since applied for the UC Santa Barbara Teacher Education Program.

The nominator is now in her first year of teaching, and Spracher’s “encouragement has helped me persevere through some pretty difficult days,” she said.

“I think (Spracher) believes in me more than I sometimes believe in myself, and that support has helped me keep my chin up this first year,” she added.

Spracher has served as a formal mentor to teacher candidates from Westmont College, new teachers in the Teacher Induction Program, and administrative credential candidates.

Four years ago, she also started a Teacher Book Club at the Monte Vista campus. Teachers at the school meet once a week to discuss a book, article, or other new research about learning and education.

“It’s one thing for an experienced teacher to tell a new one to keep smiling, hang in there, and to be open to new ideas, but it’s another for a teacher who has been in the classroom 18 years to actually walk the walk,” she said.

                             |  Salute to Teachers 2015 |  Complete Series Index  |

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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