Mary Gaston has received the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Teacher Recognition Award for the fall quarter, which came with a plaque and $1,000.
Gaston is a teacher for the visually impaired through the Santa Barbara Unified School District. She works with students from birth to age 22.
“I help students who are visually impaired to learn in the way that fits them best and teach them to use adapted materials and equipment throughout the school day and at home when needed,” Gaston explained.
“Since 1985, Mary has been providing support to students in southern Santa Barbara County. She is extremely dedicated and student-centered,” said John Schettler, director of special education for the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Schettler nominated Gaston. “Mary is well-liked and respected by her colleagues and the families she has served over the years. She is an absolute asset to the Santa Barbara community.”
“Ms. Gaston’s dedication to students with visual impairments epitomizes the devotion of our Santa Barbara County teachers,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido, whose office coordinates the recognition with the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “We appreciate the support of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara and the recognition they provide to teachers. These awards are a reflection of our community, which truly values education.”
Gaston plans to use the $1,000 to purchase a new desktop computer and Braille software to have a dedicated Braille station in her office.
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has honored outstanding teachers from South Coast schools each year since 1986. The club awards a secondary, elementary, and special education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.
“The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has a long tradition of supporting the youth in our community. Rewarding excellent teachers like Ms. Gaston is one way we do that,” said Dean Axelrod, president of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara and associate director for partnerships and philanthropy at Direct Relief. “There are so many outstanding teachers here, and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara’s Teacher Recognition Award program is our way of showing how grateful we are for their work.”
Gaston and her husband, Dave, have four children. She is a graduate of UCSB with a bachelor of arts in developmental psychology and a master of arts from Cal State Los Angeles.