Abby Mooney, a kindergarten teacher at Sebastopol’s Park Side Elementary School, has been named Sonoma County Teacher of the Month for January 2023. She was surprised by the recognition Tuesday, Feb. 7, as families who nominated her for the award were dropping off students at school. Joining family members at the gathering were fellow teachers, classified staff, and the school’s principal and superintendent, Linda Irving.
Mooney was selected as the Teacher of the Month after receiving several nominations for the program, which recognizes educators from throughout Sonoma County who go above and beyond for their students. The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) partners with Hot 101.7, and Froggy 92.9 — where nominations are solicited via on-air ads — as well as Community First Credit Union, to deliver this program.
“Mrs. Mooney’s commitment to her kindergarten students and the degree to which she is loved by school families shone through in their passionate nominations,” said Dr. Amie Carter, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “We’re proud to have the Teacher of the Month program to thank educators like her for their lasting impact on our youth.”
Mooney began her teaching career in 2006 and joined Park Side, in the Sebastopol Union School District, during the 2020-21 school year. Her previous experience included teaching in the west African country of Ghana and in San Francisco. The parents who nominated her for the award were universal in their praise for her ability to make every student feel special.
“Mrs. Mooney goes out of her way to help our kids feel welcome at school,” one parent wrote. “She embraces children of all families and brings us together to make something special.”
“She goes over and above expectations to make kindergarten feel like a special and safe place,” another parent said. “When volunteering in her classroom it makes me want to go back to kindergarten and relearn the social-emotional lessons that she weaves expertly into her curriculum all day long.”
Mooney was awarded a plaque, flowers and balloons, and a $500 classroom supply gift card from Community First Credit Union. During Tuesday’s recognition, her superintendent and principal, Irving, read from Mooney’s cover letter from when she first applied to work at the school, highlighting how the teacher had lived up to her stated commitment to education.
“She’s innovative, creative, and cares for students so much,” Irving said.
Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond for their students? Nominations for the Sonoma County Teacher of the Month can be submitted via www.sonomacountyteacher.com