Christina Andrade Melly, a passionate English Language Arts teacher at Ritenour High School in St. Louis, Missouri, has been named the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year. This prestigious award, which was established in 1957, recognizes exceptional teachers across the state who exhibit the qualities of an outstanding educator. Melly will be Missouri’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program.
Melly has spent her entire educational career in Ritenour, starting as a kindergarten student at Wyland and continuing in Ritenour schools until she graduated in 2006. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she returned to teach at her alma mater.
“I am the best teacher on the days I learn from students,” said Melly. “It takes a lot of practice and courage to reach those days, but the lessons that define me as a teacher have student choice, voice, and experiences at the center; this creates shared ownership of our learning.”
Christina Andrade Melly believes that her students’ success in the classroom is achieved when they take ownership of their education and drive their own learning. Her approach to teaching is student-centric, providing an inclusive learning environment that creates space for her students to learn how to find their own path to success.
To the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year, the power of connection is critical to uplifting schools and communities. As a mentor in the district teacher induction and Grow Your Own programs, coach emeritus of the speech and debate team, and English department chair, she actively works towards building those connections.
“Missouri is fortunate to have so many passionate, dedicated educators, and Christina is certainly one of those shining stars in our state,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Christina’s approach to student-centric learning not only provides her students an inclusive learning environment but also creates space for her students to learn how to find their own path to success. As we try to find a solution to teacher recruitment and retention, Christina stands as an example of how important it is to grow our students to become the next generation of teachers.”
Melly uses writing to amplify her students’ voices, including publishing their experiences in writing through the National Council of Teachers of English Journal. She is also a first-generation American who understands the importance of amplifying marginalized voices.
The Missouri Teacher of the Year program celebrates the efforts of effective teachers who work tirelessly to provide a high-quality education to their students. In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year Christina Andrade Melly “would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.” And her commitment to her students and her community shows that she is exactly that.