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Fernbrook Elementary Teacher of the Year
First grade teacher Dawn Melody was selected as this year’s Teacher of the Year at Fernbrook Elementary School. Ms. Melody began teaching for Randolph Township Schools in 2008. Over the course of her career with the district, she has taught multiple grade levels which include first, third, and fourth grade. Ms. Melody received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Kean University. She also holds an Associate of Arts degree from Middlesex County College.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Melody has played many different roles outside of the classroom including leadership roles as a PTO staff liaison, school safety team member, principal’s liaison representative, and a peer mentor. Ms. Melody was inspired to pursue a career in teaching during her childhood. “I was the oldest of four in my family and I found it easy to relate to children. I was in the position of reading, teaching, and playing with my younger siblings, cousins, and friends. I remember the excitement teaching my brother to tie his shoes and the enjoyment I got from reading books to my younger siblings before bed,” Ms. Melody said. “It felt like a natural progression. As I maneuvered through my schooling career, I encountered many teachers of varying abilities, personalities, and commitment. There were several that stuck out for various reasons and I remembered the qualities I appreciated in those professionals. At the same time, I recalled the qualities I did not care for in those teachers I encountered. The sum of all these experiences shaped my desire and commitment to become a teacher.”
Ms. Melody believes that a successful teacher is the result of a community of other successful teachers. She credits the collaborative environment she has worked in for helping her achieve her goals and make a lasting impact in the lives of the students she serves. In addition, it is a result of the impact she makes every day that she continues to grow personally and professionally. She believes that the moments she shares with her fellow colleagues and students make up the contributions and accomplishments of an educator. “I have been fortunate to work with an amazing group of people who have influenced my teaching style over the past decade. As I collaborate with colleagues, attend professional development, and interact with administration; I find growth in what makes me a good educator,” Ms. Melody said. “I often receive cards and notes from students throughout the school year and it is interesting to read their comments especially from the students who are quiet and do not share their feelings. Those are the moments that I feel I have made great accomplishments. Or the parent who sends a heartfelt note about their child’s growth throughout a school year. I hosted a high school student to observe the workings of a classroom for a year. She was part of the Tomorrow’s Teachers Program. She was a natural and was conducting small lessons after a short time. I did not know this student before she came to observe, and I was thoroughly surprised when she invited me to attend her High school graduation as the teacher who influenced her. As you can see it is the small interactions, we have that make the largest impact.”
Aside from being a phenomenal teacher, Ms. Melody is compassionate, loving, and empathetic. The devotion she has for students and their success is a part of who she is. We are incredibly proud of all that Ms. Melody has done for students and staff in our district. She is an exemplary educator in our learning community, and highly deserving of this honor and recognition. Congratulations Ms. Melody. We appreciate all that you do!