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Kids Turn Education

Teachers are Tops

Rhode Island Teacher Named
2004 National Teacher of the Year

2004 Teacher of the year Washington, DC, April 20, 2004 — Taking her father’s advice that she stay in school so her hands wouldn't look like his, Kathy Mellor has taken that "defining moment" in her life to heart as she works with students.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books. The program focuses public attention on teaching excellence and is the oldest and most prestigious awards program for teachers. Mellor, the fifty-fourth National Teacher of the Year and the first to represent Rhode Island, begins a year as a full-time national and international spokesperson for education on June 1, 2004.

“In spite of their lack of education because they had to leave school early to support their families, my parents instilled the value of one in me and spoke openly about how important school was,” she says. “'A house without books is like a house without windows,' my father said and I have taken that perspective and built on it to reach beyond the classroom and into the community which so tremendously affects it.”

For this philosophy and helping her students feel constantly engaged in learning, Mellor will be named 2004 National Teacher of the Year by President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony on April 21, 2004. Also recognized at this event will be the 2004 State Teachers of the Year. Mellor was born in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated from Cranston High School East in Cranston, Rhode Island. In 1970, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Rhode Island College. She earned a master’s degree in education from Rhode Island College in 1977 and a master’s degree in teaching, with an emphasis on ESL and cross-cultural studies, from Brown University in 1989.

Mellor was a substitute teacher in the Cranston, Rhode Island School Department from 1970- 1974. Between 1974 and 1980, she was a stay-at-home mother to her three children, David, Adam, and Paige, and spent part of that time working on her master's degree and beginning her course work in ESL. She was an ESL teacher at the International Institute of Rhode Island from 1980- 1985 and a continuing education teacher in the Rhode Island College English Department from January 1985 to June 1986. Her work in the North Kingstown School Department began as a consultant for ESL between April and June of 1985 before beginning at Davisville Middle School. Mellor has taught full-time for 24 years.

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Photo used with permission from The National Teacher of the Year Program

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