SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Program for Effective Access to College, or PEAC for short, is the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties chapter’s Educator of the Year Award, the ADL announced Friday.
The ADL will present the honor at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 6 during its “We’re Better Together” virtual pre-reception prior to the national ADL’s virtual Concert Against Hate.
A grant from ADL’s Ruth and Herman Hausman Educational Endowment Fund is issued alongside the award.
“It is such an honor for the SBUSD PEAC family to be recognized for challenging structural inequities and creating intentional support for our local youth,” said Dr. Patricia Madrigal, SBUSD’s executive director of partnerships and community engagement and PEAC coordinator. “We share this award with our generous donors and community partners who have supported and guided this important work.”
The SBUSD PEAC program began in 2011 when La Cumbre Junior High principal Jo Ann Caines partnered with then-San Marcos High School Principal Ed Behrens to create a program of resources for students who usually don’t receive support.
PEAC students achieve an academic grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, pass Advanced Placement classes and are accepted into colleges.
“This year’s grant committee was inspired by the program’s clear and lasting impact in addressing systemic inequities by creating effective college pathways for students from low income and under-represented backgrounds,” Dan Meisel, regional director of ADL Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties said in a news release. “The committee is also excited by the program’s expansion in 2019 to include a career pathway, the PEAC Fellowship for Education, for high school graduates to become teachers for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.”
When Ms. Caines passed away in 2018, the PEAC program created the PEAC Fellowship for Education in her honor. Fellows receive funding to receive teaching credits at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and have the opportunity to teach in the district.
“Along with the many ways the PEAC program serves our students – we as a school district benefit tremendously in that we are able to grow our own pool of teachers who can then return to our school district to serve future generations of students,” superintendent Hilda Maldonado said. “One of our goals is to develop a more diverse teaching workforce, and the PEAC program is directly helping us to achieve that and build community.”
Past recipients of Educator of the Year Award include: former Dos Pueblos High School principal (now assistant superintendent of secondary education) Shawn Carey; Canalino Elementary School principal Jamie Persoon; former El Camino Elementary principal (now Hope Elementary School principal) Liz Barnitz and longtime local reading specialist Tina McEnroe, co-founder of the Tina Hansen McEnroe and Paul V. McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at UCSB.
Both the regional ADL pre-reception and national concert feature musical acts and performances showcasing efforts against discrimination.
Registration for both events is $18 and available at www.santabarbara.adl.org/concertagainsthate.
— Annelise Hanshaw