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News from the Foundation

Posted: November 7, 2011

Teacher of the Month Amy Melia of Sierra Vista Elementary

It didn’t take long for Amy Melia to get recognized by her principal and peers at Sierra Vista Elementary as a dedicated, caring teacher. In fact, in her first year of teaching, Melia was named the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

Melia, who graduated from Sandia High School just about half a decade ago, is a fifth-grade special education teacher in a self-contained classroom who believes in celebrating student success. Though her students have learning disabilities that put them several years behind their grade level, Melia says she holds them to a high standard and sets high expectations for them.

For example, she was able to get all of them – including those who couldn’t complete a sentence at the beginning of a school year – to write three paragraph essays recently.

“A lot of special education students are unhappy because they feel like they’re not as smart as other students in their grade. It takes a lot of extra attention and love, but I’m working to close that divide,” Melia said.

Additionally, Melia accompanies her students in general education classes such as social studies and science, so she can create ties to what they are doing in both classes.

“She is truly advocating for her students and works to ensure their academic, social and emotional success,” said Sierra Vista Principal Monica Garciasalas. “Above all, she does all this with a positive attitude.”

Garciasalas said she chose Melia as the Teacher of the Month because she is organized, thoughtful, professional, attentive and committed.

“What really impressed me is the work she is doing with students in the classroom,” Garciasalas said. “Mrs. Melia speaks very respectfully to her students. She has very high expectations for her special education students and communicates these expectations on a daily basis. She also constantly strives to inform her students how the work they are doing in the classroom relates to their everyday life.”

Pepsi, in partnership with the APS Education Foundation, recognizes APS teachers for their outstanding contribution to the classroom, school and community. The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $50 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website and Facebook page.