Ms. Melissa Rains, San Diego County Teacher of the Year!

Students in Melissa Rains’ Castle Park Middle School (Sweetwater Union High School District) science class are greeted with a daily “Question of the Day” designed to gauge how they are feeling coming into class. The answers guide the first topic of conversation when class begins, and the group segues into a “mindful moment” before the science lesson of the day. Melissa believes that her connection with her students is the foundation from which they can explore and appreciate science.

“One step into Melissa’s classroom and you can feel the trust among the students and the mutual respect that they share with their teacher. Melissa has mastered the art of being a ‘warm demander,’ the delicate balance of setting high expectations and the support in place for all students to achieve their highest potential. She has cultivated a culture and climate in her classroom that is exemplary of what all of us in education would like to see happening across the nation.”- Luis Lopez, Equity and Culture Curriculum TOSA, Sweetwater Union High School District