For Melissa Grise, of Selbyville, being named teacher of the year is exciting. To be recognized by your colleagues and by parents is icing on the cake, when you love your job.
“It really is an honor,” said Grise, named North Georgetown Elementary’s Teacher of the Year. “It’s kind of neat, there are so many good teachers. I’m just honored to be at the school.”
Grise, no stranger to the district, has been teaching either fourth or fifth grade at North Georgetown Elementary for her entire seven-year career. She attended Phillip C. Showell, Selbyville Middle and Indian River High School before getting her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of Delaware and her Master’s in Literacy from Wilmington College. While in school, Grise played softball, field hockey and basketball.
“I knew I always wanted to go back and help kids,” she explained of becoming a teacher. “I felt that teachers had that position in your life, and I felt I wanted to give back to kids.”
Grise and her husband, David, are both teachers, and she juggles teaching with being a mom to two boys, ages 2 and 4. She also is a Certified Smartboard trainer, which means she can go out and teach other educators how to use the Smartboard as a consultant, a Math Lead teacher and is a member of the Beta Sigma Phi service sorority.
Originally, Grise said she thought she would teach kindergarden, but after graduating and needing a job, took the position at North Georgetown Elementary. Now, she said, she feels right at home with the fourth graders. “I can’t imagine teaching younger [now]” said Grise. “I never imagined I’d be teaching fourth grade, but I really enjoy it. I love the kids,” she added. “It’s very diverse,” she said of the school.
Grise said fourth grade is a year when the students are honing their reading skills with more chapter books, and learning fractions, geometry, multiplying and writing. They learn science, as well. In her classroom, Grise said she has five special education students and five ExCel students, so the range of ability runs the gamut. She has a full-time teaching partner, Tracy Tapman, that helps with special education students, so the two describe their approach as sort of a “tag team approach.”
“Teaching with Melissa is some of the best experience I’ve had in over 20 some years of teaching” Tapman explained. “She inspires me to be a better teacher.”
And the students feel the same way.
Gissel Roblero, a student in Grise’s class, had this to say about her: “She is nice and she is an excellent teacher. She is really fun and teaches great stuff about math and writing.”
Evin Velasquez Perez added that fourth grade is a fun year because they have learned to use a calculator and learn science. “We planted sunflower seeds, and peas and beans and corn,” he explained.
Roblero concluded, in typical fourth-grade fashion, that Grise is right on the money in her approach to education. “She makes it fun to learn stuff,” she said.