Westmont has created a scholarship honoring husband and wife Drs. Gayle and Ruth Tucker who have taught in the college’s education department for 31 years. Jenny Deetz, the first recipient of the Tucker Scholarship, graduated this month with her teaching credential.
More than two dozen local teachers attended a recent reception at Westmont recognizing Westmont’s student teachers, master teachers and the Tuckers.
“I don’t come from a family that has a lot of money so every scholarship and every opportunity that I’ve gotten has helped me stay at Westmont,” says Deetz who was a student teacher at Aliso School in Carpinteria.
Education students are required to either study for a fifth year or follow a fast-track program to earn their teaching credential.
“There’s not a great deal of scholarship help available in that area,” says Andrew Mullen, chair of the education department. “It’s very hard for students to pay for a fifth year here, and that is one of the major reasons for the new scholarship.
“It’s also important to celebrate the Tuckers’ service to the college. There’s probably no couple that has been so identified with an academic department at Westmont for so long a period.”
Before coming to Westmont, the Tuckers lived in Africa where Gayle was a superintendent in American International Schools affiliated with the U.S. Department of State. The couple’s two daughters have since graduated from Westmont’s education department.
Mullen says Deetz won the scholarship in part by demonstrating initiative in writing an article in the student newspaper about the liberal studies major and helping to start a mentoring program for incoming liberal studies students.
Deetz says the program that the Tuckers helped shape is fantastic and that she’s well prepared for her first teaching job.
“I have found through talking to others that it’s one of the best programs there is,” she says. “The Tuckers are both extremely intelligent people and have a lot of great experience from their own lives that they’ve shared with us students. It has been a real honor to learn from them.”