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News from the Education Foundation

Posted: December 16, 2014

Special Ed Teacher Found Her Calling

Melanie Lucero of Garfield Mid School is the December Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

Melanie Lucero with Pepsi representative Adrian Chavez and Garfield Principal David Lynch

Melanie Lucero with Pepsi representative Adrian Chavez and Garfield Principal David Lynch

Melanie Lucero started her teaching career four years ago as an on-site substitute teacher at Garfield Middle School, where she got experience teaching several difference classes. She quickly figured out that the special education classroom is where she is meant to be.

Lucero found at home at Garfield teaching special education language arts to sixth, seventh and eight graders. She also began the school's first Gay Straight Alliance and is a first-year girls basketball coach.

"I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, dating back to when I was in the first grade," Lucero said. "I never understood really why, until I actually started teaching. I feel that school was my getaway when I was growing up. My parents have always been my driving factor. I knew that they wanted more for me, and I created it. I was the first girl in my family to graduate high school and the first to graduate college. I feel that I paved the way for future family members to aspire to be greater and to know that college is accessible."

Lucero's obvious passion for what she does earned her the title of Pepsi/APS Education Teacher of the Month for December.

"The thing I like most about teaching is being able to impact a young person's life in a positive way," Lucero said. "I hope that when they look back at their education, they think about me as a positive influence. My goal for my kids is that they become good human beings, they aspire for better, and learn a little in the meantime. Seeing my kids smile and make gains throughout the year is what motivates me as an educator."

Lucero said she is extremely grateful for the recognition and for the encouragement she gets from her colleagues and mentors.

"I have been truly inspired by the educators that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years, and I wish that there was more recognition for all great teachers," Lucero said. "My hope is that all of my students will become lifelong learners. A good teacher can inspire students, and together they can encourage each other to be great."