Alumnae Megan Cotich (M.Ed. and SST Credential ’05) and Amanda Sweigart (M.Ed. and MST Credential '06) from UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School were given 2013 Distinguished Mentor of the Year Awards, Cotich in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and Sweigart in the Goleta Union School District. The Distinguished Mentor Awards recognize outstanding mentors from the Santa Barbara County Education Office Teacher Induction Program. These mentors provide support and assistance to teachers who are new to the profession. The three county-wide award winners were nominated by administrators and colleagues who found them to be exemplary in their commitment to professional growth, instructional practice, inspiration of others, and dedication to the field. Cotich and Sweigart were two of three mentors selected to be honored out of a large pool of nominees.
Ten years ago, Cotich began teaching seventh grade Life Science at La Colina Junior High School, after earning her B.A. in Geography and secondary school teaching credential at UCSB’s Teacher Education Program.
Sweigart has taught all eight years of her professional career at Ellwood Elementary School, having taught second grade, a second-third grade combination class, sixth grade, and a fifth-sixth grade combination class. She received a B.A.in Psychology with a minor in Education from UCSB and a primary school teaching credential at UCSB’s Teacher Education Program.
Highly regarded teacher-leaders, both Cotich and Sweigart now mentor UCSB students and new teachers in the Teacher Induction Program, instilling the values of collaboration, collegiality, and excellence in teaching.
The Gevirtz School alumnae received the award at “Salute to Teachers,” an event pioneered by Cox Communications in San Diego more than 20 years ago. Districts throughout California name Teachers of the Year every year, but Cox wanted a special night to honor the profession as a whole and to give teachers the special recognition they thought they deserved. A new partnership was forged in 2013 between Cox and the Santa Barbara County Education Office, bringing the Salute to Teachers event to Santa Barbara. Honored at the event on October 12 at the Bacara Resort and Spa were three Distinguished New Educators, three Distinguished Mentors, and the 2014 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year.