(Left) Tina Urias, Santa Paula Unified Board President and (right) Phyllis Brady, California MESA program present (center) Cari Leidig her MESA advisor of the year award.

Isbell teacher, Cari Leidig, named Advisor of the Year

November 15, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Brian D. Wilson

Santa Paula Times

Cari Leidig, a teacher at Isbell Middle School, has been recognized by the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement organization (MESA) as the MESA advisor of the year.

California MESA Director Phyllis Brady made the presentation at last weeks’ meeting of the Santa Paula Unified School District Board. She said the Isbell MESA program could never possibly be what it is without the guidance and the leadership of Leidig. Reading from the nomination application for Leidig, Brady said, “Cari Leidig leads youth by modeling engaged inspiration, project-based learning and advisor inspiration. Her MESA students are known to be inquisitive risk-takers who persistently challenge themselves.”

Leidig told the board that she couldn’t do the program without the support of  UC Santa Barbara. “We’re so fortunate to have this partnership,” she said. She also lauded fellow Isbell teacher Diana Georghiou, as well as Bob Leidig for their help.

The Isbell Middle School team was named national champions of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) National Engineering Design Competition in Seattle, Washington last year.

MESA is nationally recognized for its innovative and effective academic development program that engages students to excel in math and science and pursue a degree in math, engineering, or other science-related field. UCSB is the supporting university for the MESA program at Isbell Middle School. This was the first UCSB-fielded national team.

The MESA program was founded at Oakland Technical High School with 25 students.  MESA is an academic preparation program that serves more than 21,000 California pre-college, community college and university students who are educationally disadvantaged.

Seventy-four percent of MESA high school students go to college after graduation compared to 41 percent of all California students. Sixty percent of MESA high school graduates go on to college as math, engineering or science majors.

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