May is designated Teacher Appreciation Month by the National PTA. It is a time for honoring teachers and saluting the lasting contributions they make to our communities.

This year’s theme is “Great teachers make great public schools.” It is fitting that we take time to appreciate the teachers who mold and educate our children and have such impact on the future of our society.

The California Day of the Teacher celebrated this month enables our community to salute some of the unsung heroes and heroines in our midst.

Teachers personify our society’s belief that universal public education is key to meeting the challenges of a changing world. They strive to make every classroom an exciting environment where productive and useful learning can take place and each student is encouraged to grow and develop.

Our teachers reach out to foster the well-being of each student, regardless of ability, social or economic background, race, ethnic origin or religion. Teachers also motivate individual students to find new directions in life and reach high levels of achievement.

We know that teachers perform these tasks under very challenging conditions, with increasing pressures to raise test scores and measure “success” by students’ answers to multiple-choice questions.

I know the public at large, countywide and the entire educational community joins me in saying thank you to all teachers for their patience, their dedication, their hard work and their results. Our teachers make a difference every day, and we are all very grateful.


Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools.