Francine Pelka, Ginna Willers, and Jacqueline Williams of the Teacher Education Program of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School have been chosen as the 2009 Dr. Sabrina Tuyay Memorial Fellowship recipients. This fellowship acknowledges teacher candidates who have shown a commitment to providing thoughtful literacy and English language instruction to elementary-age and special education students. Pelka and Willers are candidates in the Multiple Subject Credential Program while Williams is a candidate for the Education Specialist: Moderate/Severe Level I Credential Program.
For twelve years, until her untimely death in June 2005, Dr. Sabrina Tuyay taught the Literacy/Language Arts Methods and Procedures courses in the Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential Program at UCSB. In October 2004, Dr. Tuyay was honored as the first recipient of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. In her acceptance speech, Tuyay spoke passionately about her beliefs. She said, “Students need teachers who are critical thinkers, risk takers, and leaders who are willing to push the boundaries and pursue the possibilities. They need educators who not only say that all students can learn, but who are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure that it happens everyday.”
In her fellowship application letter Pelka wrote, “From listening to Ann Lippincott speak of Dr. Tuyay, I think that the characteristic that we most have in common is that we love our students. I strive to facilitate learning in my classroom and create purposeful language arts lessons, but above all, I aim to show my students that I genuinely care for them and for their education.” In her letter Willers said, “Literacy is responsible for propelling me into the teaching profession, and it will continue to fuel my commitment to providing my students with daily opportunities for academic and emotional growth.” And in her application Williams asserted, “Anything that I genuinely believe will benefit my students in learning and becoming confident and successful, I will try. I am a huge advocate for the field of special education and will always remain strong willed and loud mouthed about my views of inclusion and collaboration.”
UCSB’s Teacher Education Program offers the Multiple-Subject, the Single-Subject (in 6 content areas), the Level I & II Education Specialist Moderate/Severe Teaching Credentials, and an M.Ed. in Teaching. The programs are run as a cohort, with the elementary and secondary cohorts no larger than 60 students each, and the special education cohort no larger than 15. Candidates are placed in partner K-12 schools throughout the 9-month academic year, student teaching in the morning and attending university classes in the afternoon/evening. The Teacher education Program is unique in that many of its faculty both supervise candidates in the field and teach university courses. The result is a cohesive, well-articulated program of study that takes candidates through each developmental phase of learning to teach.
[The fellowship recipients are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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Photo caption: The 2009 Tuyay Fellowship recipients (left to right): Jacqueline Williams, Ginna Willers, Francine Pelka