Gevirtz School alumni Melissa Woods and TJ Berry win 2021 Santa Barbara County educator awards

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Melissa Woods and TJ Berry

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School alumni Melissa Woods and TJ Berry will be two of the honorees at the Salute to Teachers gala on November 6 at the Music Academy of the West. Woods has been named a Distinguished Mentor; Berry has been named a Distinguished New Educator.

Sponsored by The Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO)—in partnership with Cox Communications and other organizations across Santa Barbara County—this event recognizes teaching excellence and features new and mentor teachers who contribute to their students and schools in extraordinary ways.

Melissa Woods (TEP, SST/Physics, M.Ed., ’99) teaches at Dos Pueblos High School as part of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. Through her 22 years in teaching, Woods has been a positive role model and a source of inspiration for students and colleagues alike. Her passion for science education has been celebrated with awards and recognitions, including the 2007 Coca-Cola Teacher of the Year and the 2002 Radio Shack Teacher of the Year, as well as grants from UCSB.

TJ Berry (TEP, SST/Social Sciences, M.Ed., ’19) teaches at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. Berry demonstrates intention in teaching, building relationships, and continual improvement at Santa Ynez Union HS, where he teaches history. He is known for his ability to connect with students, and his warmth helps him build positive relationships across the campus. Berry’s teaching style develops students’ ownership of learning. His project-based learning activities encourage students to choose multiple modes of accessing the curriculum.