Sonoma County Teacher of the Year, Finalist Named

04/24/2019 -

Steve Herrington surprises Katya Robinson with Teacher of the YEarKatya Robinson, a special education teacher with the West County Consortium, which serves students with special needs in west Sonoma County, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Year. She was teaching in her classroom at Park Side Elementary in Sebastopol on Wednesday when a “prize patrol” including County Superintendent Steve Herrington, school supervisors and colleagues, Teacher of the Year Sponsor Community First Credit Union, and others surprised her with flowers, balloons, and news of the award.

Robinson was recognized for her energetic, thoughtful, and child-centered approach to serving her students with moderate to severe disabilities. Robinson says that her goal is to “teach herself out of a job” by helping her students address their educational challenges and transition back into a general education classroom with their peers.

Teacher of the Year Katya Robinson with a student“Our reviewers were particularly impressed with Katya’s focus and success in closing the achievement gaps for young children in her moderate to severe disabilities special education class,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “Katya gives her students and their families both hope and a plan of action to reintegrate students back into general education.”

In addition to artfully meeting the needs of her students, Robinson also mentors prospective special education teachers and brings inclusion opportunities into the classroom. Katya provides leadership for expanding Special Olympics/ Unified Schools to create an engaging opportunity for students with disabilities to feel included and successful.

To be eligible for this prestigious award, educators must have taught for at least eight years. They must write a three-page letter showing how they’ve: Worked to close the achievement gap for their students, demonstrated educational leadership in their school, fostered 21st century teaching practices, contributed to the success of their school, and involved community in the classroom. This letter is submitted along with a letter of support from a school administrator and a colleague.

In recognition of this achievement, Robinson will receive a $3,000 award from Community First Credit Union and season tickets to the Santa Rosa Symphony. She will work with SCOE’s Teacher of the Year coordinator to apply for the prestigious 2019-20 California Teacher of the Year award.

Travis Beall stands by his student's art workTravis Beall, a high school English teacher at Roseland University Prep, was honored as finalist for his leadership throughout the school and his high expectations and support for his students.

Herrington, in a letter recognizing Beall, observed, “Travis has a warm rapport with his students and provides them with clear instruction that prepares them to be successful in the school’s core value of preparing students for college. The students respond to Travis by being prepared for class and by engaging in the instruction that he provides.”

Beall has created an educational learning environment where students learn how to learn. He was also acknowledged for his leadership in engaging teachers across the school in literacy instruction.

Travis Beall works with a studentBeall is the recipient of a $2,000 award provided by Community First Credit Union.

“At SCOE, we seek to inspire the local educational community by honoring and telling the stories of our most exemplary teachers. I can’t imagine better models for rigorous, student-centered teaching than Ms. Robinson and Mr. Beall,” Herrington said.

Learn More: scoe.org/toy