Kathryn Meola provides legal representation and general counsel advice to community college districts, K-12 districts and county offices of education in all aspects of labor and employment matters, Board governance, open meeting laws, ethics and conflicts of interest, California public records act requests, contracts, policy development, charter schools, commission on professional competence, arbitration hearings, administrative hearings, certificated and classified layoffs, certificated dismissal hearings and civil litigation.
Prior to joining AALRR, Ms. Meola was General Counsel and Director of its Education Legal Alliance (ELA) for the California School Boards Association. She was the first woman to serve as General Counsel in the organization’s 88-year history. As General Counsel, Ms. Meola provided legal counsel to CSBA’s leadership and led the ELA, a consortium of school districts, county offices of education and regional occupational centers/programs that pooled resources to pursue and defend public education interests in the courts and before state agencies.
Prior to joining CSBA, Ms. Meola was a Chief Deputy County Counsel in San Mateo County where she served as general counsel for the San Mateo Community College District and Superintendent of Schools and Board of Education along with several other school districts in the County. In addition, Ms. Meola supervised the County’s public safety departments, as well as its School Deputy and Special Education Deputy teams. In this role, she also conducted ten special education administrative hearings and certificated dismissal and layoff hearings.
Prior to the County Counsel’s Office, she was a Deputy District Attorney for 12 years where she prosecuted homicide, sexual assault and domestic violence cases and took more than 50 jury trials to verdict and handled hundreds of court trials and preliminary hearings.
Honors & Recognitions
2005, San Mateo County Employee of the Year
1994, recipient of the Joseph P. Busch Criminal Justice Award
- Co-counsel defending civil litigation matter in a $114 million claimed damages resulting from breach of contract and FCC auction;
- Co-counsel in the initiation of a Consumer Choice Aggregation (“CCA”), resulting in a new public entity formation (Joint Powers Agreement), Peninsula Clean Energy (“PCE”) comprised of all Cities within the Peninsula, along with San Mateo County (2015-2016);
- Integral in the initiation of a County-wide Coalition of Safe and Supportive Schools and Communities, led by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, by creating the “Big Five” Coordinated emergency response for law enforcement, schools and public agencies and drafting a Memorandum of Understanding for Information Sharing (2013-2016);
- Plaintiff v. County of San Mateo (2012) USDC 12-CV-02148-JST – § 1983 cause of action for excessive force alleged against San Mateo County Sheriff’s staff when Plaintiff was placed in custody following an arrest for Successful resolution was reached after filing a Motion for Summary Judgment.
- Plaintiff v. County of San Mateo (2010) Superior Court, #483706, employee alleged wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination claim, settled with a §998 offer of compromise.
News & Publications
Events & Speaking Engagements
- CCLC, Effective Trustee Workshop, Brown Act Presentations, 2022
- WACUB, Open Leadership, 2021
- Performance Management Academy, Negotiations, 2021
- ACSA Special Education Academy, Hot Topics & Due Process Hearings, 2013-2021
- National Law and Business, Presenter, K-12 Education, 2016-2019
- Women in County Government Leadership – New Leaders – Taking the Next Step, 2015
Alerts & Articles
- Court of Appeal Rules That Trial Courts May Exercise Discretion to Deny Attorney Fee Awards in California Public Records Act Lawsuits Achieving Minimal or Insignificant Results05.02.2022
- California Attorney General Declares That Charter School Employees May Not Serve on a County Board of Education in the County Where Their Employing School Is Located11.09.2021
- California Appellate Court Rules That Due Process Does Not Require a Live Hearing for Written Reprimands05.27.2021
- California Appellate Court Rules That Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity May Qualify as a Disability Under FEHA05.27.2021
- Update: California Department of Public Health Issues Comprehensive Guidance Governing Opening and Reopening of K-12 Schools03.24.2021
- California Department of Public Health Issues Comprehensive Guidance Governing Opening and Reopening of K-12 Schools01.19.2021
- California Community College Chancellor’s Office Memorandum on Continuity of Education for Programs Supporting the Essential Workforce07.14.2020
- Assembly Bill 218 - What board members should know about the new childhood sexual assault law - CSBA
- Recent developments relating to the California Voting Rights Act - CSBA
- The changing tide of the California Public Records Act and the personnel exemption - CSBA
- The role of the school board’s attorney - CSBA
Community & Professional
- Civil Service Board, City of Sacramento, Board Member, 2021
- Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Executive Committee, 2022
- Planning Commissioner, City of Belmont, 2017-2019
- San Mateo County Charter Review Committee, Advisor, 2017
- State of California Special Education Advisory Committee, Committee Member, 2016-2018