Mr. Merrill graduated from California Lutheran University with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine with an emphasis in Education in 2010. He received his cross-categorical K-12 teaching certificate from Rio Salado University in 2011. With over 10 years of teaching special education, Mr. Merrill's philosophy of education is that all children are unique, and each student must have a motivating educational environment where he/she can meet his/her full potential through growing physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. 
 
The RCSL Education Committee's selection process included review of several parent testimonials in support of Mr. Merrill, which included: Our family has been affected by Mr. Merrill's amazing abilities and his passion to challenge each student to be the best one can be; we have seen a complete transformation in our child and trust Mr. Merrill to shape our child's education; Mr. Merrill is a voice for his students and advocates for their inclusion in school activities; and Mr. Merrill is the embodiment of this award, his spirit lights up the lives of every child he works with.