The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced Monday that a teacher from San Diego County is one of only four finalists for the 2017 National Teacher of the Year award, according to the California Department of Education (CDE).
Megan Gross has taught special education for nine years. She's spent the last three years teaching an autism spectrum disorder special day class at Del Norte High School in Poway Unified, according to CDE.
She also leads a team of instructional assistants who work together to provide unique learning opportunities and experiences for students with special needs.
"Megan is a terrific educator who is deeply dedicated to creating a safe and productive learning environment for her students," Superintendent Tom Torlarkson said, in a statement. "She has worked diligently to end the social and physical isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities."
Back in October she was named as one of the top five California Teachers of the Year, and the CCSSO selected her as a finalist in the state.
On Monday, a panel of 15 prominent education organizations chose Gross and three other Teachers of the Year from different states, including Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Maryland, as finalists to compete for the national title, according to CDE.
The National Teacher of the Year will be announced in Spring 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Besides her work in the classroom, Gross is a prominent leader in the Special Education community. She is a known advocate for inclusive education, who aims to fully integrate all students into classrooms and activities, according to SDE.
Gross graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in genetics from the University of California, Davis and also holds a Special Education Credential from California State University, Sacramento.