Melanie has served over 25 years in the field of education, teaching K-12 in Topeka 501, NYC Public Schools, Ecuador, and the Republic of Congo. In addition to teaching, Melanie has served as a Teacher Trainer at ESU, Education Consultant at KSDE, and English teacher to international students at Washburn University.
Melanie is married to a USD 501 teacher and their two children attend Topeka Public Schools. She is the author of a bilingual children's book and an academic Learn Spanish book.
The University of Kansas - Bachelor of Science in Education, Spanish Major and French Minor
City University of New York - Master of Science in Applied Linguistics
Seal of Biliteracy Advisory Council - Kansas State Department of Education
Former PTO Officer - Scott Dual Language Elementary
Former Advisory Board Member - USD 501 Parents as Teachers
Volunteer - Landon Middle School
Volunteer - VIDA Ministries
1437 SW Campbell Ave
Topeka, KS 66604
I bring the teacher voice to the school board with my 25 years experience in educational settings. I know the reality in our public classrooms and the most important issues challenging our students and educators.
I currently work for an educational service center and serve approximately 20 districts in the education of their migrant-qualifying students. In this capacity, I spend a lot of time in Kansas school districts which gives me a greater perspective of how schools can most efficiently educate students. I also spend significant time with migrant families, assisting their children with both education and healthcare matters. In this position, I've become very informed about community outreach programs, federally qualified health clinics, credit recovery, and GED programs. I also am proficient in Spanish and French, allowing me to communicate with parents and other community members of those linguistic groups.
I believe the most critical issue facing our school district is the turnover of educators. Teaching is an extremely rewarding, yet time consuming and emotionally intensive career. I would love to see educators fairly compensated for their professionalism and dedication, including providing addendums for special skills and added responsibilities. I'd also like to see the recruitment and retainment of more racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse staff. Some ideas to attain this goal are: 1) attract more professionals to teaching through the restricted licensure program; 2) assist paraprofessionals in obtaining their teaching credentials; 3) invest more in local bilingual talent; 4) recruit educators from regions where Spanish is the dominant language; and 5) offer signing bonuses for minority teachers.
A school board should support its staff by listening to concerns and taking action on issues over which it may have influence. School board members need to make regular visits to schools, talk to educators with an open ear, and also attend school meetings to stay in the know about current issues and policies. School board members should also stay up-to-date on education-related news in the city, state, nation, and world. School board members definitely must remain consistently connected to their local teacher union.
Finally, a school board can support its staff by being available - in person, email, phone, and always be responsive.
I think it depends on the school. I would talk with the school's administration, instructional and counseling staff, and also the custodial staff to learn about that school's particular needs.
I am prepared to give as much time as is needed to do my best in addressing concerns and advocating for the issues that are in most need of attention. Public education is of paramount importance for our future as a society and to the well-being of our community, which then extends to the country, and the world. The responsibility is serious and I am prepared to commit myself 100% to being the best possible voice for students, educators, parents, and all community stake holders.