There is no shortage of teachers who go above and beyond for their students in Carpinteria Unified School District. Each year, two teachers are honored by school leadership, their peers and the community with the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year Award. This year, the awardees are Aliso Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Ryan Francisco and Carpinteria Middle School eighth-grade American Studies teacher John Fowler.

 

Ryan Francisco

“What makes Ryan (Francisco) an exceptional teacher is his collaborative nature, awareness of new strategies, ability to network, and teaching skills that help reach all students,” said Aliso Principal Dr. Michelle Fox. “He is always the first one to say, ‘Okay, let’s try it’ when a new idea is presented, or ‘Hey, I have an idea…’ Francisco’s enthusiasm and forward-thinking approach has driven him to complete a Master of Science in Instructional Technology and to network extensively throughout California, making connections with educators, businesses and community leaders. Through this network and spirit of collaboration, Francisco has brought robots and a 3-D printer into his classroom, provided fifth-grade students with hydroponics materials, and launched a new after school club focused on team building and STEAM (Science, Technology, Enginearing, Art and Math).

In his own words

How does it feel to be Educator of the Year?

Ryan Francisco: I feel very honored to have been named educator of the year. CUSD is fortunate to have so many talented and dedicated educators and I am very grateful to be a part of the team.

What is your greatest motivation as a teacher?

Francisco: My greatest motivation as a teacher is finding new and innovative ways to inspire students’ motivation and perspectives for learning.

What do you think students need most?

Francisco: I feel what students need most—and deserve—is an education that connects with them on a personal level and instills an authentic passion for learning. Our classrooms are filled with students from varying backgrounds, ability levels and personalities, and as an educator I strive to implement learning experiences that draw upon their unique interests and needs as both students and individuals.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of teaching?

Francisco: The most rewarding aspect of teaching for me is when students find a personal inspiration in a simple assignment or project and go above and beyond in making it their own. It’s always great getting emails from students, proud to share their work and progress on various assignments they have taken a special interest in. Working at Aliso, it is also very rewarding to be a part of a community that works so well together to foster students’ growth as students and citizens all the way from TK to fifth grade.

John Fowler

“John Fowler is dedicated to learning how to help students navigate the often-tumultuous years of middle school,” said Carpinteria Middle School Principal Lisa O’Shea. Fowler teaches American Studies and Global Studies and directs the Associated Student Body (ASB) at CMS. “He revels in helping students connect and make meaning with our collective past,” said O’Shea. As the ASB guide, Fowler helps students learn to enact positive changes in school culture. Throughout his activities at CMS, Fowler strives to help students build social-emotional competencies necessary for building healthy relationships and life-long learning.  

In his own words

 

How does it feel to be Educator of the Year?

John Fowler: It is both humbling and exhilarating to be acknowledged working in the midst of so many dedicated and outstanding teachers in our school district.

What is your greatest motivation as a teacher?

Fowler: To help in planting the seeds for greater self-awareness and life-long learning in our youth.

What do you think students need most?

Fowler: Students need parents/guardians, caring adults who are thoroughly engaged in guiding them through what is often the "tumultuous" transition of middle school.

Students learn best only when their essential needs have been met. When they are rested and fed, actively feeling the benefits of safety and a sense of belonging in their community—then they can move on to the daunting and adventurous path of learning.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of teaching?

Fowler: Working with a purpose that transcends my own personal well-being feels good. Knowing I am providing guidance in learning "how to learn"—something students appear to really need—is both rewarding and a powerful incentive for learning how to provide the best guidance I can.

Managing Editor

Debra Herrick has been CVN's managing editor since 2018. She enjoys telling the stories of Carpinteria Valley’s people and unpacking the community’s most pressing issues. Debra is also a features writer and photographer for Carpinteria Magazine.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.