As her fourth-grade teacher remembers it, Kayley King was a born leader who would take control of a situation and make sure everyone was on track.
It was no surprise to College View Elementary School teacher Kathleen Young that her former student would become a teacher herself.
"She has leader qualities and that's something that you're born with," said Young, 59, who now teaches fifth grade at the school. "When we were doing group work, she would be the one that would like to help people that didn't understand the directions or didn't know how to do a problem."
King, 26, of Westminster, kicked off her teaching career this week at the kindergarten level at Peterson Elementary, in the Huntington Beach City School District. The Cal State Long Beach graduate credits Young with inspiring her to become a teacher.
"She brought a lot of the arts into education," King said. "We put on Shakespeare plays, and that sticks in my mind. She was so passionate about education and teaching, and that really stuck with me."
Young said King flourished in her class and that she loved to act out what she had learned.
"She always took responsibility for her learning," Young said. "She was always one of those people that was like a sponge and always wanted to learn."
King said she had wanted to be a teacher since she was little and, as the oldest sibling, would pretend to lead a classroom with her brother after school.
"I've always loved education," she said. "I kind of always knew that I wanted to be a teacher."
She earned her bachelor's degree and teaching credentials at Long Beach State and soon after began student teaching. By coincidence, she became a student teacher at Peterson for a kindergarten class.
"That's when I fell in love with that younger, primary age," King said. "Now I'm excited to teach kindergarten."
Before she landed her job at Peterson, she had served as a substitute for 2 1/2 years, helping teach kindergarten, first and third grade at Eader Elementary and Hawes Elementary in the Huntington Beach City School District. King said she would take on long-term assignments, filling in for teachers who were ill or on maternity leave.
King said she had considered teaching at the high school level but was drawn to helping younger students.
"It's more fulfilling for me," she said. "I would've been happy to take a job in fifth grade, but it just worked out that I landed where I wanted to be."
Young said she was amazed that King decided to become a teacher and was happy to have had such an affect on one of her students.
"That's the joy of a teacher: to have an impact on his or her students to become contributing citizens in our society," Young said. "And when one of your students decides on teaching as a profession, to me, it's one of the highest compliments. She then, in turn, will be influencing her students to become contributing citizens."
spent her Labor Day weekend trying to get her classroom ready for 29 students and said she couldn't wait to start the school year.
"I've been moving furniture over and making all the preparations and plans," King said. "We're ready to go."