Alumni Spotlight: Meghan Stratton

Rutgers GSE alumna, Meghan (King) Stratton is a sixth-­grade Social Studies teacher at Melvin H. Kreps Middle School. She has been named the 2019 New Jersey History Teacher of the Year. This award is presented annually by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K‐12 American history education. Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. In 2015, Stratton received her Master’s degree concentrating in Social Studies Education in addition to serving as an Urban Teaching Fellow at the GSE. She is also the Summer Program Coordinator at the Rutgers Office of Leadership and Experiential Learning in the summer, and advisor for the drama program at her middle school.

“My time at the GSE instilled a lot of valuable lessons that I use every day in my teaching in addition to giving me an appreciation for the importance of history education specifically. Through practical experience and strong pedagogy, the GSE reaffirmed my belief that everyone deserves an education, and the best way you can show love to your students is by providing them the best education you are capable of delivering,” Stratton said. Stratton is grateful for everything she was able to learn at the GSE and for her experience in the Urban Teaching Fellows program.                                                                                                                                                                               

Stratton’s love and inspiration for history education goes back to when she was six years old. “I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather, who was a dedicated educator. As I grew older, I came to realize that the passion I held for history throughout my academic career was what I wanted to share with others. When I first started teaching I learned that this was more than a passion, it was a calling. There is nothing more important that I would rather dedicate my life to,” she explained. Knowing that her students are excited and just as passionate as she is to learn is her reason for coming to work every day.

Stratton learned that she had won this prestigious award on the last day of school, stating that she “feels honored by this award because I think that it goes back to my students. My students are empathetic, courageous, and inspiring, I think that it is exciting to see that people feel like the work that we are doing is worth celebrating. At the end of the day, the students matter the most.” Stratton is one of those teachers that any school community would be lucky to have due to her dedication, passion, and love for her students.

Stratton believes that as she continues to teach she will refine her craft and that her journey of learning and growing is never complete. “We owe it to our kids to constantly make education better and more inclusive for every student,” said Stratton.

Stratton exemplifies the GSE’s mission of advancing equity, diversity, and social justice in schools. “In my classroom, I aim to make the hour students spend with me the best hour of their day, one in which they feel safe and valued. I think my long term goal is to continue to find spaces where I can grow the amount of students I can positively impact.”