B.S. in Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ed.M. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ed.M. in Education Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University. After graduate school, Melissa taught fifth grade and kindergarten, each for two years on Chicago's west side. While teaching fifth grade, she and a colleague developed and implemented a team-teaching program. In addition, they created a yearbook club, in which students designed and created their own yearbooks using digital computer technology. She assumed many other leadership roles including Student Council Sponsor and Title 1 Reading Support Teacher, and was a founding member of the Response to Intervention Committee. Melissa is currently teaching third grade at Walt Disney Magnet School, a fine and performing arts school on Chicago's north side. She created and implemented a systematic discipline plan with a positive reinforcement component for nearly six hundred students and thirty teachers and was a founding member of the Parent Teacher ISAT Alliance support group, which helped to strengthen the home-school connection and improve test scores. She continues to maintain a leadership role by working in after school enrichment programs and facilitating data driven instruction meetings.