Santa Rosa's Meaghan King named Sonoma County Teacher of the Year for 2022-23
Herbert Slater Middle School educational specialist Meaghan King, who serves as a model and advocate for inclusive education, has been selected as Sonoma County’s Teacher of the Year for the 2022-23 school year.
King has taught students who receive special education services at Herbert Slater since 2012 and chairs Santa Rosa City Schools’ Extensive Support Needs department, where she works with teachers who serve students with disabilities or special learning needs and require a high level of support.
She additionally oversees the middle school’s leadership class and track team, and teaches at the North Coast School of Education (NCSOE), where she offers support and mentorship to new teachers entering the field. NCSOE is a department of the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) that operates state-approved credentialing programs and services for teachers and administrators across Northern California.
King underscored her commitment to cultivating inclusivity in her classrooms and across the broader school campus and district community in her application for the Sonoma County Teacher of the Year program. Her purpose as a teacher is to build a foundation that allows every student to attain success as an adult, she said.
“I attempt to foster a sense of belonging in my classroom with high standards and rigorous support,” King said in the application. “My students know they have the safety to be wrong, mistakes mean they are being ambitious and growing.”
Every year, SCOE names a local educator as Sonoma County’s Teacher of the Year. The program recognizes exemplary teachers who eﬀectively and creatively educate students to prepare them for future success. The winner of the local contest is subsequently nominated for the State of California's Teacher of the Year program. Awardees of the statewide contest will be announced in October.
“Meaghan’s relentless pursuit of inclusivity for her students and the work she is doing as a mentor to her peers is an example of the culture-shifting change that will only further the field of education,” said Dr. Amie Carter, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “Every student, regardless of their background, has the right to access their education and feel like they belong when they step onto a school campus.”
Meghan Harrigan, who was an extensive support needs teacher at Montgomery High School last year, said she first met King when she applied to be a paraeducator in King’s special education classroom. King’s drive was the first thing that stood out to her, Harrigan said in her recommendation letter for King.
“There are not enough words to describe how spectacular Meaghan is and how immense the impact that she has on this school district and this community is,” Harrigan said. “She has dedicated a majority of her life to helping others while highlighting their strengths and leading the way for others interested in a career of education.”
Katya Robinson, a program manager within the district’s Extensive Support Needs department, said the thoughtfulness that King brings into the classroom is a source of inspiration to others.
“Her dynamic, energetic methods have her classroom leading the way to develop extensive needs programs all over the district and adults requesting to be placed in her classroom as aides to support the madness (in a good way),” Robinson said. “ . . . As an administrator, Meaghan’s classroom is the class I go to in order to recharge and see magic in the works.”
SCOE additionally recognized a group of finalists as part of the Sonoma County Teacher of the Year program: Coleen Bixby, a 6th-grade teacher at J.X. Wilson Elementary; Quinn Riggins, a 1st-grade teacher at Thomas Page Academy; and Patricia Murphy, who teaches science and design and engineering classes at Windsor Middle School.
King and the finalists will be recognized later this month during a school administrator’s reception at SCOE. The finalists received a check from Community First Credit Union for $1,500 as part of the recognition, while King was awarded a $3,000 prize for being selected the Sonoma County Teacher of the Year.
Learn more about the Sonoma County Teacher of the Year program at scoe.org/toy.