2018 June Downing Memorial Outstanding Educator Award presented to Sally DeLyser of Santa Barbara Unified School District

Statewide recognition honors educators who are advancing inclusive education and equitable opportunities for students, particularly those with the most significant disabilities and support needs.

Natalie Holdren holding a plaque with Sally DeLyser and Tara Uliasz
Natalie Holdren, Co-President Cal-TASH; Sally DeLyser; and Tara Uliasz, former Santa Barbara Unified School District Special Education Teacher
Rose Tafoya standing with Sally DeLyser (holding a plaque) and Emily Schwab
Rose Tafoya, former Santa Barbara Unified School District Paraeducator; Sally DeLyser and Emily Schwab, Santa Barbara Unified School District Speech Pathologist at Monroe elementary.


Cal-TASH, the California chapter of TASH, an international leader in disability advocacy, presented Sally DeLyser of Monroe Elementary, a part of Santa Barbara Unified School District, the 2018 June Downing Memorial Outstanding Educator Award. DeLyser was presented the award at a special ceremony in Sacramento earlier this month. The annual award is given to an educator who demonstrates leadership in promoting and facilitating inclusive options for students with severe disabilities (preschool through 22 years of age) in collaboration with families, general and special educators, support staff, and other members of the education team.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of a dynamic and well-respected educator,” said John Schettler, Director of Special Education for Santa Barbara Unified School District. “Ms. DeLyser’s persistent vision and commitment helped create a positive school culture for students with significant disabilities to learn alongside their peers in the the classroom and are regarded as important members of the learning community.”

Sally DeLyser was nominated for this statewide recognition by Natalie Holdren, Cal-TASH chapter co-president. DeLyser has served for more than a decade as a Special Education teacher. She also is a Mentor Teacher for UCSB Teacher Education Program. She is recognized for her ability to foster trust among educators, creating an environment where teachers can feel safe to learn about the joys and challenges of special education while implementing real world solutions and strategies without compromising values.

“It takes a village to implement successful and meaningful inclusion: paraeducators, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapists, general education teachers, students and their families. The list goes on and on,” said Sally DeLyser. “This award belongs to this village, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of making a positive difference in the lives of students and families throughout our district.”