Dr. Peter Georgakis
Annual Faculty Lecturer 2004-2005
Peter Georgakis was born in 1948 in New York City, to Ulysses and Evanthia Georgakis, who emigrated from Greece to the United States in 1941 to escape the Nazis. He spent his childhood on Island Park, a small island off of Long Island. Although he spoke only Greek when he entered the tiny elementary school in Island Park, he was fluent in English by the time he began the second grade.
Peter attended Queens College in New York City, where he competed on the Varsity baseball team as catcher. He received his B.A. in Mathematics in 1970, and at 22 began teaching mathematics at Freeport High School in New York, inspired by his Greek culture’s high regard for the teaching profession. While teaching at Freeport High, Peter served as faculty advisor for the high school’s wildly successful Variety Show, and earned his M.A. in math education from Hofstra University. In 1976 he was chosen High School Teacher of the Year.
Seeking new challenges, the following year Peter moved to California to attend evening law school at the Santa Barbara College of Law. He took a position on the faculty of the newly-established Santa Barbara Middle School, where he created the math curriculum and taught for 7 years. After earning his J.D. and passing the California Bar Exam, he began practicing law part-time in 1981. After a very short time in law practice, Peter realized he could help far more people by remaining in the teaching profession and he took a part-time position at Santa Barbara City College.
Peter joined the full-time faculty at SBCC in 1985, where he has taught mathematics classes ranging from elementary algebra through calculus. In the late 1980’s, he spearheaded SBCC’s Excellence in Mathematics and Engineering Program (EMSE) for underrepresented students and more recently he was instrumental in securing a National Science Foundation grant to develop Mathematics 108, Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers, which debuted in Spring 2005. He has served as SBCC’s Mathematics Division chair and Department Chair, and as a representative to the Academic Senate.
In 1997 Peter received the Gerald C. Hayward Award for Excellence in Education, the highest honor given in California to a community college faculty member. He is a three-time nominee for the Mathematics Teaching Excellence Award, sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). Peter has served as an AMATYC committee chair, and as its Legal Advisor for many years; he has also been president of the Foundation for the California Mathematics Council Community Colleges (CMC3).
Peter’s reputation as a lively math teacher is largely based on the jokes he tells at the expense of his adoring family, which includes his wife Heather and three children Alexander (18), Zoë (16), and Fiona (14). Together, they miss no opportunity to travel or enjoy the performing arts.