October 2016 Winner - Melodie Black:(Southeast Lauderdale Elementary)


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Meridian Star Article

Doing whatever it takes to be successful is Southeast Lauderdale Elementary teacher Melodie Black’s philosophy when it comes to teaching.

Black, who teaches third grade, was named the October Golden Apple Award winner at an assembly Wednesday.

"When I heard my name called it was very surreal – I was shocked and then there were tears," Black said. "Being nominated just warms my heart. I know it is a prestigious award and comes from the community, making it very special to me."

Black said she’s known since childhood she wanted to be a teacher.

"It’s a calling, even as a child I pretended I was a teacher," she said. "After I got in school I had a lot of teachers that inspired me and who were instrumental in drawing me to the profession."

A 27-year teaching veteran, Black said her favorite thing about teaching is being a mother figure to so many young children.

"It’s about making those relationships, to see the students grow up and graduate," Black said. "This year I am teaching a child of one of my former students. The fact she was happy I was teaching her child, too, is the ultimate compliment."

Black describes her teaching philosophy as "old school."

"That is – to work hard, know what you have to do, and do whatever it takes to do it," she said. "If it means bringing in music, bring in music. If it means staying late, stay late. If it means keeping a student after school, keep them after school. Do whatever it takes to make sure the students know what they need to know."

Black, whose husband, Charles, is a coach, said being a coach's wife makes her more competitive.

"I am the supreme competitor and I bring that competition into my classroom," she said. "It doesn’t matter what students are put in my classroom, I want all of them to be successful, and I will do everything I can to make them be the best they can be. Just like my husband does on the football field, I’m doing it in the classroom."

Ryan Powell, the school's principal, said Black is deserving of the honor.

"In the past two years, Gateway for the state, where the kids have to pass to go to the fourth grade, she has been a hundred percent both years," Powell said. "She is extremely deserving and we are very fortunate to have her as one of our teachers."

Charles Black said he sees how hard his wife works behind the scenes.

"She doesn’t just come to school and leave at 3:15 – she takes it home with her," he said. "She loves these kids and I’ve seen her go outside the classroom and buy them things they need. I am really proud of her, she is very deserving and I think her winning is outstanding."

Black’s children Blair and Andrew agree.

"She's a great teacher and was my favorite teacher in elementary," Blair said. "She treats the kids like her own, loves and cares about them, and goes out of her way to take care of them."

"She has a huge passion for teaching, you can see it," Andrew said. "She goes the extra mile to make sure her kids are taken care of. She stays up late at night grading papers and doing lesson plans, so she absolutely deserves it."

Third graders Hannah Hasty and Milayla Miles praised Black for receiving the award.

"I think it was amazing and I was super shocked! Hasty said. "Mrs. Black is so awesome and such a good teacher."

"She makes learning so much fun," Miles added. "Sometimes we play games to help us learn."

Black’s advice to new teachers?

"Don’t do it for the money, because if you don’t have a passion for kids don’t do it," she said. "It’s not about the teacher – it’s about the children always."

"There is nothing else in the world I would rather do," Black said. "Even on the worse days, it is still a good day."