Golden Heart Honoree: Melissa Wright
Melissa Wright is all about subtracting barriers and adding opportunities.
As a Severe Educational Disability (SED) special education teacher at I-Team Manor, Wright teaches math and consistently goes the extra mile for her students, whether it’s helping her students start a business or get access to critical supplies.
“While we were doing remote learning last semester, Melissa was contacted by a guardian of one of her students,” I-Team Manor social worker Tristan Maas said. “The guardian disclosed that the family was struggling financially and was not even able to buy basic supplies or things for the upcoming holiday.”
Wright wasted no time in marshalling the community to gather donations of supplies and gift cards to help the very grateful family. That’s far from the only way that Wright goes above and beyond to support her students with her “Golden Heart.”
For several years, Wright has worked with fellow teacher Kristin Louise to combine work-based learning and math in the form of a school-based business, Moondream Esentials. Through this opportunity, Wright gave students hands-on experience measuring oils, following recipes and learning math skills in the process. Students were also able to practice interpersonal skills by working booths at district events like new teacher orientations to sell their essential oil creations.
“Melissa has so much empathy and intuition for how to support students,” Louise said. “I admire that she’s always willing to learn more so she can keep growing as a person, which is so inspirational.”