L to R: La Cuesta Principal Elise Simmons, James Beddard,
Meghan Roarty, and Paul Zink from the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.
Since 1986, the Rotary Club has honored outstanding teachers from South Coast schools each year. It awards a high school, junior high, elementary, and special education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.
“We are delighted that the annual Rotary awards recognize the contributions of these great teachers, and helps provide them the resources to enhance the classroom experience for local school children,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the recognition with the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “Our educators do amazing things for the students and families of our community.”
“The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara is committed to supporting the Santa Barbara County Education Office, and it gives us great pleasure to recognize the efforts of outstanding teachers like James,” said Brian Sarvis, chairman of the Teacher Recognition Committee of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “Rotary of Santa Barbara and Rotary International members know that educators like James Beddard have a tremendous impact on their students, and we respect and applaud the kind of selfless attitude that makes him so deserving of this distinction.”
“James is just an all around amazing human being,” says La Cuesta Principal Elise Simmons. “He has the biggest heart and never gives up on his students. He is a dependable colleague, makes you laugh when you need it the most, and has developed good relationships with sensitivity to everyone's needs and abilities.”
Beddard is in his third year teaching at La Cuesta. He was at Santa Barbara High School for eight years prior to his current teaching post. He also taught for a year at Devereux in Goleta. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from UCSB, and his teaching credential as an educational specialist at CSU Channel Islands. His wife, Meghan, teaches at Laguna Blanca School.
“I want students to have a connection at school,” Beddard says. “We have a number of students who do not have active role models in their lives, and I hope to provide support and encouragement to them. As an educator, I know that relationships are of the utmost importance to learning. I try to engage students with energy, new information, and even a little bit of self-deprecation.”
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. Recipients of the club’s Teacher Recognition Awards are made with the assistance of the Teacher Programs and Support department of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
For more information, visit teacherprograms.sbceo.org or santabarbararotary.com.