Melissa is a mother of 6 children who range from preschool to graduate, including two special needs children. She has a Bachelor’s in Business Management and Finance, and an Associates in Print Journalism. Prior to being a stay-at home mom, Melissa ran her own 501(C)3 non-profit organization called The Friend Tree Autism Center for 4 years in the Bay Area, and opened an Autism Therapy Center, contracting with Therapists to run programs and play-centered social-skill groups, organized resource fairs for families, hosted educational puppet shows at dozens of elementary schools, and provided parent-supportive services, respite care and counseling.
When Melissa's husband was in the Navy, Melissa lived in multiple cities, including Okinawa, Japan, where she taught dance to over 80 students.
She is active in the Highline Community where she ran meetings called Highline Good Neighbors where public safety, local politicians and various organizations were presented. Melissa was also on the St. Anne Hospital Foundation Board (Previously Highline Hospital). She is currently on the board for Love Is My Religion (www.limr.us), a local organization that helps get people from all sides and perspectives talking and listening to one another.
FOCUS ON EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE
The purpose of public education is to teach our students academic skills and good moral character that will serve them and set them up for success in whatever it is that they choose.
But in just the past decade, reports show a very steep decline in reading, math and science, which signals that we are headed in the wrong direction! Highline lands in the bottom 20% statewide among those numbers. Less than 33% of our students are on grade level in Reading and Language Art standards, and even worse, 26% or less are on target in Math and Science overall. That is 2 out of every 3 students that are falling significantly behind! It is irresponsible to stand by and watch our students continue in this downward trend! (ospi.k12.wa.us)
As School Board Director, I will prioritize focusing on rudimentary and foundational academia and work to build those students up who have fallen behind and need more equitable help.
BUILDING STRONGER STUDENT / PARENT / TEACHER RELATIONSHIPS
Our children do best when they have a strong and supportive foundation underneath them; with caring parents and teachers working together! The demands that these students experience during their rigorous educational and formative years are best met with a team of caring parents and leaders that can plan, reinforce and engage with the best path forward. By emphasizing supportive services for their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, our children will start to gain more confidence in themselves, their teachers and their educational path towards a better future.
As your School Board Director, I will do all I can to make sure parents have a place at the table, in helping shape their child’s educational experience, while placing an emphasis on services that give the student the tools they need to succeed!
BALANCED & FAIR APPROACH
Each child is different and there is no one-sized fits all when it comes to learning and education. The same goes for swift and sweeping district policies, that don’t provide room for fair and balanced discussion that meets the needs and respects the rights of all. All deserve dignity and respect in sharing their lived-experiences, but not catering only to policies that help some, but could hurt others. We should be good stewards of the sacred funds from our citizens, who trust us to use them wisely and for the purposes of helping their children and by being fiscally responsible with them.
As your School Board Director, I will strive to bring a balanced and thoughtful approach to policies and procedures, be fiscally responsible, and in keeping with state and local laws, upholding the dignity of the office I would be sworn to.