Rotary of Santa Barbara honors elementary teacher Maggie Light

The Downtown Rotary Club of Santa Barbara selected Maggie Light as its outstanding high school teacher of the year. Light teaches English at Santa Barbara High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Since 1986, the club has honored outstanding teachers from South Coast schools each year. It awards a high school, junior high, elementary, and special education teacher with a certificate and a $1,000 check to spend on classroom needs.

Light was recognized at the club’s luncheon meeting Feb. 6.

“This kind of continuing support for local educators is so meaningful and important, “ said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the recognition with the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. “Showcasing the exemplary efforts of classroom teachers makes a special impact on students and their schools. The annual Rotary awards provide recognition and resources for outstanding teachers to enhance the classroom experience.”

After 23 years of teaching English to high school freshmen, Maggie says she “absolutely loves it.” She is a teacher who feels the privilege of sharing the journey of learning with students. Her principal, John Becchio, says, “Maggie is a great teacher and much, much more. She works tirelessly to make the school culture and academic setting at the school the best it can be.”

Maggie has been the school’s yearbook advisor for the past 18 years, and is the lead teacher for the school’s Focus on Freshmen initiative, having been involved in the seminar program since its inception. She is a member of the school WASC accreditation Leadership Team and she leads one of the focus groups. She volunteers for an endless number of student events. Most important, says Principal Becchio, “She is a positive force for school reform and is always a student-centered voice on our campus.” Maggie was introduced to Rotary Club members as “all-enthusiasm, all the time.”

Says Light, “My literary hero is Stargirl. Like her, I want to connect with others — in this case my students, by accepting them for who they are and what they bring to the table of learning first. It is when I am able to validate their personal and academic potential and journey that I can then ask them to stretch their thinking and their idea of self through the act of critical reading, skilled writing, and productive discussion.”

Maggie attended local schools, is married to Mitch Light, a fourth grade teacher at Mountain View School, and they have three wonderful children.

Santa Barbara Rotary is pleased to honor her and awarded her a plaque and a check for $1,000 to be used in the classroom. Rotary salutes Maggie Light, an outstanding teacher in our community.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort in Santa Barbara for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. Recipients of the club’s Teacher Recognition Awards are made with the assistance of the Teacher Programs and Support Department of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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Kris Bergstrom; Steve Keithley, 964-4710, ext. 5281

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