GUSD Honors Employees and Announces 2015 Teacher of the Year

At the February 4, 2015 meeting of the GUSD Board of Trustees, 9 District teachers and 10 classified employees were honored as Distinguished Educators of the Year and announced the selection of the District Teacher of the Year, Alice Robles-Richter, from Ellwood School.

The Board recognized certificated and classified employees who were selected by their peers at each site and District department. GUSD Superintendent, William Banning introduced the presentation by noting that the employees being honored were selected not only for personal accomplishment and excellence, but as representatives of the exceptional work being done every day, at every school in the District. “Public education is not a profession where employees typically seek recognition because there is a strong sense of collaboration and teamwork among them,” Banning stated. “They tend to be reluctant to stand out from their teams. This is why our emphasis in honoring employees is strongly aligned with the opportunity to represent the profession as a whole.”

Each employee’s supervising administrator stood before the full house at Wednesday’s meeting and summarized the qualities and dedication that the honorees bring to their daily service to the children and families of the school community.

GUSD Teacher of the Year – Alice Robles-Richter

After each school and department selects their honorees, a team of District administrators select individuals to be honored as District Distinguished Employees, who are then advanced to consideration for Santa Barbara County Employees of the Year. Alice Robles-Richter, a 3rd grade teacher at Ellwood School has been selected as GUSD Teacher of the Year and will now be considered for the County honor.

Robles-Richter is a 19 year veteran of GUSD including 13 years at Ellwood School. According to her principal, Abby Vasquez:

In addition to her duties as a 3rd grade teacher, she leads the schools character development program and ensures that posters are displayed for each month’s featured character trait. She also runs a character essay and art contest for students. She goes far beyond basic instruction, and truly integrates these character lessons into daily practices.

Alice does special events in her class for Veterans’ Day and  invites veterans to come in and speak to kids. She also coordinates school wide preparation of Valentine gifts for troops, providing note paper and blank folded cards so students can write/draw for the serving sailors and soldiers. She was recognized by the Navy two years ago, and invited to travel aboard the USS Ronald Reagan from Santa Barbara to San Diego as their guest.

She  is always eager to learn new things, and has taken to her smart tv (named “Sharpie” in her class) and iPad with excitement, and patience when tech is glitchy. She adapts and refines her lessons, and as an example has changed the previous third grade students’ standard animal report into an iPad presentation for the smart tv on biomimicry in technology.

She is humble, and always eager to learn from others ideas or feedback. Though she is an experienced teacher, and strong in her practice, she is the first to ask, “How can I teach that better/more seamlessly/more deeply?”

The District may nominate only one teacher candidate for County honors and one classified employee in each of several job classifications. The District’s selection process to determine classified nominees for County honors is underway, with an announcement of nominees expected later this month.

2015 Distinguished Certificated Educators of the Year

  • Kristin Wright (Special Education) – Brandon School
  • Ina Ettenberg (Learning Center) – El Camino School
  • Alice Robles-Richter (3rd Grade) – Ellwood School
  • Sheri Scott (Kindergarten) – Foothill School
  • Krista Beard (2nd Grade) – Hollister School
  • Mark Warren (5th Grade) – Isla Vista School
  • Sheri Parker (2nd Grade) – Kellogg School
  • Gloria Ino (3rd Grade) – La Patera School
  • Julia Cirincione (Special Education) – Mountain View School

Distinguished Classified Employees of the Year

  • Dianne Tuttle – Brandon Library Media Specialist
  • Carmen Hernandez – Brandon Custodian (El Camino nomination)
  • Cassandra Locke – Ellwood Instructional Assistant
  • Judy Donner – Foothill Computer Specialist
  • Laura Casanueva – Community Liaison
  • Lucie Espinoza – Kellogg Instructional Assistant
  • Grace Chiang – La Patera Food Service Worker
  • Cheryl Bowers – Mountain View Instructional Assistant
  • Stephanie Sarricchio – District Office
  • Leora Sumner – Food Services