The UCSB Gevirtz Graduate School of Education held its Fellowship Breakfast on January 19, to celebrate with 47 of the school’s most promising graduate students who have received fellowships this year and the community supporting them.

Fellowships are made possible through generous private foundations and individual donors who have contributed to 26 funds that provide annual support to Gevirtz School students. Fellowship funds awarded this year totaled over $264,000.

Jeffrey Milem, the Dean of the Gevirtz School, highlighted the theme for this year’s event: “Education is the Answer.” He noted that in order for education to fulfill its promise, it’s necessary to ensure that everyone has equal access to high-quality education.

Economic status, racial and ethnic background, and other factors have a huge impact on access to educational opportunities. As the costs of education rise and public funding is decreased, access to high-quality programs is further restricted. The support provided by fellowships is crucial to expanding equal access.

“I want to thank our donors, who through their generous fellowship support, help to reduce the financial barriers that can restrict access to high quality education at the Gevirtz School,” said Dean Milem.

One of the newest fellowships is the Community Fellows Fund, a partnership between the Gevirtz School, Santa Barbara Unified School District and philanthropic investors. The Community Fellows Fund offers full fellowships to recruit and support highly qualified, local teacher candidates from diverse backgrounds who plan to work in Santa Barbara Unified schools when they graduate. This fund covers all costs of the fellows’ teacher education experience.

The keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Ann Kaganoff, who received her Ph.D. in Reading & Language Development from the Gevirtz School in 1981. She is an accomplished author with a 60-year career focused on literacy skills, teacher training, and Educational Therapy.

Dr. Kaganoff and her daughter, Rachel Kaganoff Stern, recently established the new Ann Parkinson Kaganoff Family Endowment for Literacy.