State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that Megan Gross, a 2017 California Teacher of the Year from San Diego County, was selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the 2017 National Teacher of the Year award.
Gross has been a special education teacher for nine years, the last three teaching an autism spectrum disorder special day class at Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School District. She leads a team of instructional assistants who collaborate to design and support unique learning opportunities and experiences.
“Megan is a terrific educator who is deeply dedicated to creating a safe and productive learning environment for her students,” Torlakson said. "She has worked diligently to end the social and physical isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am proud to have her represent California. She is an exemplary example of how innovative teachers can enrich the students’ lives.”
In September, Gross was named one of five San Diego County Teachers of the Year. In October, she was named one of five California Teachers of the Year and selected as a finalist by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the United States.
Today, Gross and three other state Teachers of the Year -- including teachers from Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Maryland -- were chosen by a panel comprising 15 prominent education organizations and representing more than 7 million educators.
The National Teacher of the Year will be announced this spring in Washington, D.C.
In addition to her work in the classroom, Gross is a leader in the greater special education community. She is a well-known advocate for inclusive education, in which students of all abilities are fully integrated in classrooms and school activities.
Gross graduated with a bachelor's degree in genetics from the UC Davis. She earned a special education credential from Cal State Sacramento.
For more information on the National Teacher of the Year program, visit the CCSSO website.