“Teacher of the year” is SBCC’s new automotive dept. chair


Alejandro Gonzalez Valle

Russell Granger is the automotive department’s new chair at Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Sept. 15, 2017. Granger was teacher of the year four times at San Marcos High School where he previously taught.

JOSIE FIALKO, Channels Staff

Four-time “Teacher of the Year” award winner, Russell Granger, settles into his second year teaching at City College while taking on a new role as automotive department chair.

Granger worked as an auto technician for 27 years before becoming a teacher. When he earned his credentials, he taught at San Marcos High School for 10 years.

“I’ve been teacher of the year four times while at [San Marcos High School],” Granger said. “The big one was when I was California’s Teacher of the Year (2012)- that was neat.”

He was also named one of ‘Goleta’s Finest’ as well as Teacher of the Year for both the city of Goleta and the county of Santa Barbara.

“He’s real smart – and thorough,” said one of Granger’s former City College students, Victor Ringor. “He would actually make you think, which in turn would make you smarter.’’

With an active work schedule as an instructor, Granger is managing to teach a total of five courses this semester. His classes range from introductory courses like Auto 110: Fund Of Automotive Service, to more advanced ones like Auto 218: Automotive Specialty.

“The classes are awesome,” Granger said. “The students, by in large, either have a great deal of interest in automotive and are going into the industry or they’re going on to a four year…and automotive is just something they also do.”

The diversity in his students’ objectives excited Granger as he recalled past students who have received the automotive certificate. Many of his students have gone on to receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees in other fields of study after graduating with an automotive certificate of achievement.

Granger explained the opportunities students are presented with when they can include their certificate on résumés. According to Granger, having a background in auto technology has proven to be just as important to employers as a degree would be.

The automotive program is just one of Granger’s many passions.

He is involved in yoga and rock climbing, which he originally got involved in when taking courses offered at City College. He finds that not only have these activities helped him physically, but have also helped him professionally.

“[These activities have been] one of the best professional development opportunities for being a better teacher.”

Patience is a key lesson that Granger says he has taken away from his extracurricular activities, which he discovered the liking to here at the school.

“That’s what I love about city college- is that you have these opportunities.”