As a Westmont student, Krista Beard ’94 got involved with Sidewalk Sunday School on the Eastside and developed a vision of living, serving and working in a community. Today she carries out this vision daily, and the Westmont Education Department has honored her with a 2011 Excellence in Education award.
For 18 years, Krista has taught in Goleta elementary schools as a grade-level teacher, science educator and a reading specialist. One co-worker says, “Krista sets the standard for excellence in teaching through her dedicated commitment to children, careful attention to detail and positive attitude.” Another writes, “I have the utmost respect for Krista’s professional integrity.”
About 12 years ago, she purchased a home in an underprivileged neighborhood in the heart of Old Town with enough space for neighborhood children. After building relationships in the area for a few years, she invited local children to join her for a homework club in her garage. The club has grown to include 80 at-risk youth from fourth grade through high school. Krista and her ministry team also began a summer Vacation Bible School in her backyard. After four summers, they teamed up with Coastline Community Church of the Nazarene, which now hosts the program.
The vision Krista captured as a college student is now in full bloom as she lives, serves and teaches in a local community. She says that seeking to meet the needs of people gives her a natural platform for sharing conversations about faith. Although she describes her life as sometimes messy and complicated, she sees God at work there.
In presenting the award, Professor Jane Wilson noted that the word “bold” best describes Krista. “She is also generous, giving, loving and dedicated and a servant, friend and woman of faith. She is a visionary with a true heart for the community. Krista, we can clearly see that your faith in Christ is at the core of your life.
”In discussing Krista’s involvement at his church, Pastor James Kinzler says, “Krista has a clear vision of God’s calling for her life and she lives it out on a daily basis.”
A four-year goalie on the Warrior soccer team, Casey Roberts ’80 holds the Westmont records for career saves (601) and saves per game (6.53). He was twice named defensive MVP and a 1977 NAIA and NSCAA All-American. His success has continued off the field in his work as a longtime teacher and coach, and the Westmont Education Department has honored him with a 2011 Excellence in Education award.
Casey graduated with a degree in history and received the Dean’s Award as the outstanding male scholar-athlete. He returned to campus a few years later to earn a teaching credential and started his career at Santa Barbara Christian School 28 years ago. Today he teaches economics, U.S. history and AP U.S. history to juniors and seniors at Carpinteria High School. His school district has honored him as Teacher of the Year, and his longevity means he has taught many children of his former students.
Robert Linsday, a 26-year colleague, says, “I have seen Casey grow into a master educator and a deserving leader of our faculty. He exudes qualities of stability, intelligence and reasonableness that have made him a mighty contributor to campus culture. His classes are vibrant and engaging to the great benefit of his students. His easy-going congeniality makes him perhaps the most popular teacher on our campus with students and faculty alike.”
Inducted into the Westmont Warrior Hall of Fame in 2007, Casey has coached soccer for years, for AYSO, Bishop Diego High School, San Marcos High School, Carpinteria High School and even Westmont.
Casey and his wife, Kathy, have two sons who are pursuing teaching careers. Tristan graduated from Pomona College and teaches ESL in the Republic of Georgia. Matt, attends Seattle Pacific University and is considering teaching special education.
Casey gives back to the Westmont community by serving on numerous panels, teaching a class for the department and speaking at their Second Annual Educator Connections event. He has nurtured college students and student teachers, passing on his love for the profession. He embodies what it means to be a life-long learner and professional educator.