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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 6:02 pm | Fair 59º


Susan Deacon Running for Santa Barbara School Board Seat

Longtime educator and leader of Dos Pueblos pool project says challenging times call for vision and initiative.

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The Deacon family, from left, Dekker, Jim, Susan and Kyle. (Mary Arango photo)

For years, Susan Deacon and fellow parents at Dos Pueblos High School sat on rickety bleachers watching their children play water polo and bemoaning the sorry state of their cramped and dilapidated pool. So they dreamed big — Olympic-size big — and in the end, raised more than $2 million to build a state-of-the-art pool on the campus. Deacon is widely credited for her role in the fundraising campaign that ensured the pool’s success.

Today, she is president of the nonprofit organization that supports the Elings Aquatics Center, which continues to flourish and provides a rich community and educational resource. Working with other dedicated families, Deacon helped forge a “public-private” partnership that she believes can be a model for the Santa Barbara School Districts in these troubled economic times.

“That is an example of the vision and initiative I will bring to the school board,” said Deacon, who declared her candidacy earlier this week. “I know from personal experience that with commitment and hard work, we can accomplish great things.”

Deacon retired last year from a 20-year career as a community college teacher and administrator. She taught journalism and mass communication at Palomar College in San Diego County for 11 years, then at Santa Barbara City College after moving to the Goleta area in 1998. As adviser of the student news media at both colleges, she helped her students win top state honors year after year.

Deacon pledged to use her knowledge and experience to “promote academic achievement in our schools ― even in the face of shrinking state and federal funding.” As a teacher, she made top-quality instruction a priority.

“If elected, I will work at every level to hire and keep smart, motivated and well-trained teachers, along with first-class principals,” she said. “I will consider every creative approach to restore funding so that we can lower class sizes, reinstate music and elective courses, and strengthen the math, science and language arts core.”

A former broadcast and newspaper journalist, Deacon earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Sarah Lawrence College and a master’s in communication studies from UCSB. She has worked on several college-level initiatives, including a joint task force with the California State University System to develop strategies to enhance journalism education statewide. Her academic publications include a study of technology in community college computer labs.

Deacon has been an active local volunteer, serving on the school district’s High School Bond Oversight Committee, the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) District Advisory Council, and was a National Honor Society adviser. She is presently a member of the Steering Committee for the Capital Campaign at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and co-chairwoman of the hospital’s Case
Statement Study Group.

Her sons, Dekker and Kyle, graduated form Goleta Valley Junior High and Dos Pueblos High and her husband, Jim, is a bioengineer and a director in the Embarcadero Municipal Improvement District.

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