Melissa grew up and attended High School at South Lake Tahoe High School. Following her high school graduation, she attended Sacramento State University where she earned her Bachelors Degree in Communication and Broadcast News. Melissa pursued and earned her Masters Degree in Psychology at Chapman University and while working on her Masters Degree, Melissa began her professional career responsible for the risk management in a hospital setting for three years, before taking a position as a family therapist at the Tahoe Youth and Family Services where she worked for four years. At the Youth and Family Services center, Melissa worked with troubled, at risk students and their families where came to understand clearly many of the issues that color and negatively affect the lives of young people. When she finally decided to become a teacher, she made this understanding her primary guiding principle of her teaching. She came to the understand that in order to be effective in the classroom, Melissa needed to address the social and emotional needs of her students and must make every effort to develop trusting relationships with her students before she could began to really teach them. She determined it was critical to know and understand what, if any, “baggage” her students might bring to school every day. Her psychological training allowed her to tune into student body language and any subtle changes she saw in her students attitudes or behaviors. Consequently, with each new group of students she meets each fall, she spends the first week learning about the interests of her students and building a relationship of trust and safety in her classroom. Melissa attempts to demonstrate clearly that she is someone who can be trusted, will be consistent and dependable and one who will treat all students equally. She firmly believes that when she is able to do this with each new group of students, she will not have behavior issues in her classes and she will have students who are willing to do the necessary work to do well in her classes.