Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Exceptional Children’s Teacher of Excellence-2014: Mrs. Melissa Whitley
Union County Public Schools would like to honor Melissa Whitley with the distinction of Teacher of Excellence at the Exceptional Children’s Division-64th Conference. Mrs. Whitley is currently an EC teacher serving students with disabilities at New Town Elementary. With many strong EC candidates nominated from our schools, Mrs. Whitley’s dedication and diligence to her students and her willingness to support students with disabilities as well as their teachers set her apart and reflects the excellence that embodies this award.
Mrs. Catherine Perry, Principal at New Town Elementary, states that Mrs. Whitley is an outstanding EC teacher and leader in the school. She works diligently and tirelessly to challenge her students with varying disabilities and assists their teachers in fulfilling the mission of the school system in preparing all students to succeed. As a resource teacher, she serves students in co-teaching environments as well as within the resource classroom.
Mrs. Whitley’s passion for special needs children is evident every day. Her instruction is focused, well planned, direct and is based on individual student data which is collected to further plan for their learning. She maintains an organized, structured daily routine that benefits her students. Her data collection is excellent and serves as a model for other teachers at her school and throughout the school system. Due to her efforts, supports are in place for both the students and teachers and these have made a difference in her students’ daily school experiences. These supports which allow her students to be successful are developed through the rapport she builds and values with her students and their parents. Relationships and communication are at the core of who she is.
Mrs. Whitley is a leader in the school as well. A crucial part of her role as an EC resource teacher is to complete IEP paperwork and facilitate meetings, always adhering to district, state and federal guidelines. She has a systematic method for organizing EC folders. Her leadership, outside the classroom walls, ensures continued compliance in all capacities and is treasured.
Additionally, Mrs. Whitley exemplifies collaboration, positivity and a team player attitude. She consults with other teachers on a daily basis to develop and share ideas to aid them in their classrooms; therefore, ultimately, indirectly affecting more students than are designated on her caseload. She has presented to school staff multiple times each year, as well as worked with our program specialist to present information on Down Syndrome to other UCPS staff. She mentors a beginning EC teacher, as well as serves as the EC team lead. Lastly, Mrs. Whitley values her own professional development and continues to further her growth through attendance at and participation in a variety of staff development opportunities.
Again Mrs. Perry states, “Melissa Whitley embodies professionalism, emanates a positive attitude, expects excellence, facilitates team work and ensures the use of a problem-solving approach DAILY.” As stated before, these efforts on behalf of her students enhance their daily school experiences. This is one of the many reasons that Mrs. Melissa Whitley deserves to be recognized as Union County Public Schools’ EC Teacher of Excellence for 2014.
Written by: CoRetta Limous
Posted: Oct 03, 2014 by CoRetta Limous