By Santa Barbara County Education Office
Garson Olivieri, a music teacher at Cabrillo High School in Lompoc, has been named the 2018 Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year for Santa Barbara County. The award was created in 2015, in a partnership between the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) and the Santa Barbara Bowl through the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation Education Outreach, which is dedicated to supporting performing arts in the community. Olivieri will succeed Brett Larsen, a music teacher at Adams Elementary School in Santa Barbara, as the Performing Arts Teacher of the Year next academic year.
“One of Santa Barbara Bowl’s Education Outreach priorities is ensuring access to the performing arts for all youth in Santa Barbara County,” says Graham Farrar, the Bowl’s Education Outreach Committee Chair and Board Secretary. “Educators like Garson play a vital role in positively enhancing the lives of students every day. We thank Garson for his dedication to his students and to his community. We are excited to support this award and teachers like him!”
Olivieri will be honored at the fifth annual “A Salute to Teachers,” a gala event recognizing award-winning educators from Santa Barbara County, to be held next fall. The event partners SBCEO with Cox Communications and a variety of sponsors. Cox has sponsored a similar celebration for over 25 years in San Diego, and is honored to continue this great tradition of teacher recognition for Santa Barbara County educators.
“Mr. O,” as he is affectionately called, is highly respected and admired for his teaching and leadership not only at Cabrillo High School but also throughout the district. His students often start playing with the Allan Hancock Community College Jazz Band, Atascadero Community Band, and other local ensembles. In recent years, the Jazz Band has performed with the local jazz group, the Basin Street Regulars, who were so impressed with the group that, this year, they offered scholarships to all of the Cabrillo students who performed.
“I was both surprised and deeply humbled to be named Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year for Santa Barbara County,” Olivieri said. He learned of the award in a surprise announcement from his colleague Chris Ladwig, who together had taken their students to perform at Disneyland. “It’s an honor to work with the students at Cabrillo every day,” Olivieri says. “My students — and the families who love and support their pursuit of music — are an inspiration to me. I am so grateful to the Santa Barbara Bowl for making this award possible. It speaks to the way our community truly values arts education.”
“Garson’s passion, energy, and enthusiasm for the performing arts shine through, and have inspired young students to develop an enduring appreciation for music and the arts,” says County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone. “We applaud the Santa Barbara Bowl’s vision in spotlighting the importance of the performing arts in a well rounded education by sponsoring the Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year Award, and sincerely appreciate Cox Communications’ sponsorship of ‘A Salute to Teachers,’ where Garson will be honored before fellow educators and community partners from around the county.”
“The Santa Barbara Bowl works hand in hand with many community organizations to help enrich the lives of everyone,” adds Rick Boller, the Bowl Foundation’s Executive Director. “By leveraging the success of the Bowl’s Concert Seasons, we are able to help support programs like a Community Ticket Subsidy, Instrument Fund, the SBCEO Teachers Network Performing Arts Curriculum Project Grants, as well as the Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year. Congratulations to Garson Olivieri on his success in the classroom and his impact on the world of performing arts… and we hope he has a great time at the concert he choses to attend as part of his award.”