Steve Larson, a teacher at John B. Riebli Elementary in Santa Rosa, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for February 2018.
The monthly award honors one of Sonoma County’s most outstanding teachers from October through May. It is sponsored by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), K-HITS 1049, and Community First Credit Union (CFCU), with additional support from Platinum Chevrolet.
“During these challenging times of post-fire recovery, we need teachers more than ever to help our students overcome adversity and thrive,” said Steven D. Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “The Teacher of the Month program this year seeks to honor, support, and thank those teachers.”
Mr. Larson embodied this spirit of community mindedness and support after the fire, despite seeing his own home destroyed in the blaze. Riebli Elementary serves the Mark West area, which was heavily affected by the fire. Many of Mr. Larson’s students lost their homes or faced scary evacuations. Riebli Elementary could not reopen for several months due to damage to the surrounding neighborhood, so Mr Larson and his students had to adjust to a temporary classroom for several months as well.
“My daughter is in his 6th grade class this year and has come out of her shell because of him,” wrote one parent who nominated him for the award. She added that Mr. Larson handled a difficult bullying situation “with grace.” After the fire, Mr. Larson stepped up to help the students he serves who were affected, despite his personal loss. “He’s risen to a level that is amazing!” the parent added.
Mr. Larson was surprised at a school-wide assembly with the award, which includes a plaque and $400 classroom supply gift card. Students and staff members alike cheered enthusiastically when they heard he had won. Listen to his interview with KHITS 1049 here.