Meredith Dadigan

Meredith Dadigan, an elementary school teacher for Aspire Titan Academy in Huntington Park, received the Teacher of the Year award at the 18th Annual California Charter Schools Conference in 2011. Meredith is known to embody what the charter school movement is truly about.

A Chicago native, Meredith moved to Northern California to join Aspire Public Schools and then went to Titan Academy when it first opened in 2009. She focuses a large part of her lessons on reading and writing skills, encouraging her students to write their own literary essays and present them to the class. Titan has even held publishing parties, where parents and students from the lower and upper grade levels are invited to hear the essays.

In the fall of 2009, only one of her 28 students was reading at grade level, and most were reading several grade levels behind. By the end of the school year, 26 of those 28 students were reading at or above grade level. Meredith says her teaching isn’t a career, but a lifestyle.

Parent participation is also very important at Aspire Titan Academy, where parents are invited to share their story every Friday—whether it’s about their job, their culture, or something interesting about their lives.

Titan Academy is one of 30 high-performing Aspire schools throughout California. Meredith previously taught at Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy in Oakland. The school received an API of 824 in its first year.