Santa Barbara Sunrise Rotary Honors La Cuesta Teacher of the Year Award to Mike Mowers

Source: Rotary Club of Santa Barbara

“La Cuesta is a special community that provides students with a second chance. I am so fortunate to be on a team of educators that is united in our goal to support our students and families.”
—Mike Mowers, Physical Science/Art Teacher, La Cuesta Continuation High School

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise honored La Cuesta Continuation High School teacher Mike Mowers with the La Cuesta Teacher of the Year award. The award recognizes exemplary teachers who contribute to quality education and inspire students from all backgrounds and abilities.

“Mike Mowers brightens any room and situation with his positivity, energy and sense of humor. He is an outstanding Physics and Art teacher. He brings enthusiasm and engagement to every lesson and activity,” says Elise Simmons, Principal, La Cuesta Continuation High School. 

“Mike is a huge advocate for all of his students,” Simmons continued.

Following the presentation of the award, Mowers, who teaches physical science and art at La Cuesta Continuation High School, said “Any one of our staff could be Teacher of the Year or Para-educator of the Year or support staff of the year due to their love of our students and desire for them to achieve their goals,” he said of the Teacher of the Year honor. “There is not a day that goes by that I do not ask my colleagues for advice on a lesson or how to best deal with a student having an issue. La Cuesta really is a family.”

Mowers graduated from Santa Barbara City College with an Associate Degree in Marine Tech and earned his B.A. in Geography from California State University Long Beach followed by a single subject credential from Chapman University.

He began his career as a teacher’s aide at El Puente Community School. After receiving his teaching credential, he began teaching at the Los Prietos Boys Camp, followed by a year at Santa Barbara High School, and has been at La Cuesta for four years. 

Speaking of the Rotary club’s involvement at La Cuesta, he said, “It is so very important that our students receive positive recognition for their accomplishments by the Rotary club. It sends a strong message that the community has not forgotten about them and that they are valuable.”

“It is wonderful to see students so proud of themselves as well as the pride it brings to their families,” he said of Student of the Month awards.

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise is committed to supporting youth organizations and youth-serving programs in Santa Barbara County. Beginning in 1999, the club sponsored the Student of the Month program at El Puente Community School until the school closed in 2013. This is the fourth year for our Student of the Month program and first for the Teacher of the Year at La Cuesta Continuation High School.
La Cuesta Continuation High School is a comprehensive alternative education program offering a variety of instructional options to meet the educational needs of students. Classes are kept small to allow interaction and an exchange of ideas between students and teachers and between students themselves. As well as cooperative and collaborative classroom activities, each student’s individual educational needs are recognized and incorporated into the structured school day. The school is part of the Santa Barbara Unified School District and is led by Elise Simmons, Principal. 
Rotary is an international leadership organization. It’s made up of local business, professional, and civic leaders. We meet regularly, get to know each other, form friendships and through that, we’re able to get things done in our local and worldwide communities. Rotary is a leader in the effort to eradicate polio worldwide, brings clean water and education to people in need, and promotes peace. The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise was founded in 1985 and is a diverse group of 50 members. The club meets weekly on Wednesday mornings at 7:00 am at the Santa Barbara Club located at 1105 Chapala Street in Santa Barbara. For more information, visit or call (805) 884-6428.  


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