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Melissa Cerina is an elementary school teacher at The Waterside Children’s Studio School (P.S.317Q) in Rockaway Park, New York. The Waterside Children’s Studio School is an arts school. Through music, drama, visual arts, film, technology, writing and dance, the rigorous and progressive curriculum empowers all of the children to grow academically, creatively and socially. Melissa has engaged in numerous leadership experiences at The Waterside Children’s Studio School such as: Special Education Coordinator, Core Inquiry Team Leader, Hiring Committee Member, Bus Coordinator, New Teacher Mentor and she participated in the Kindergarten Teacher Leader Group at Teachers College, Columbia University. Melissa received a B.S. in Social Sciences at SUNY Buffalo in May 2007 and a Masters Degree in Elementary/ Special Education (1-6) at Hofstra University in December 2008. Shortly after, Melissa went for her certification extension for Birth-9th grade at Touro College in the summer of 2010. On June 7, 2010 she was awarded Partners in Excellence by Young Audiences New York in honor of her outstanding commitment to ensuring high quality arts education for her students. Also, for the past three years Melissa has been awarded the Teachers of Tomorrow grant in recognition of the demands of teaching in the highest needs schools in the New York City Department of Education. As a member of the 2012 SPA NYC cohort Melissa is looking forward to advancing her professional career and gaining a wealth of knowledge that will help her become a truly effective leader.